Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: The Science Book of the Senses


Have you ever wondered how your five senses work and how they help you take in information around your world? Neil Ardley has written a book entitled The Science Book of the Senses that offers fun and simple experiments you can do to learn more about how your five senses work.

We all know that the five senses are extremely important in absorbing information about the world around us and are “your brain’s link to the world [we] live in.” The five senses include: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Ardley’s book gives students an extremely hands-on way to not only learn how the five senses actually work but to also understand ideas such as why we have two ears or how someone who can’t see can “read” even though they are missing the sense of sight. He starts off the book by first explaining what the five senses are and ways that our senses are often combined, for instance when playing basketball. In describing all the senses throughout the rest of the book, he provides ways students can build an ear or an eye using simple materials to actually see how they hear and see or creating taste and smell tests to show how they use their noses and taste buds to distinguish between different smells and tastes. The book also investigates questions such as:

  • Why do we have two ears on either side of our head instead of just one?
  • Why are two eyes better than one?
  • Can you trick yourself into seeing two pictures one?
  • Can you always believe your eyes?
  • How do optical illusions work?
  • How can you measure your reaction time?

An interesting part of the book is that after each sense is explained and tested, small excerpts on real world applications to the senses are included on the bottom right hand corner to help students understand another aspect of the senses. For instance, explaining that the black hole in the middle of the eye is the pupil which changes size to control the amount of light that the lens focuses on the retina.

Curriculum Connections
This book provides a fun and experimental way for children to learn how we can use our senses and corresponding sensing organs in order to learn about one’s surroundings. After reading and completing the experiments, students will investigate and understand that humans have senses that allow one to seek, find, take in and react or respond to the world around them using senses, organs, and sensory descriptors (in Virginia this could be corresponded to Science Standards of Learning K.2). Since this book is extremely hands on, it could be used in the classroom with supervision and students working together.

Additional Resources

  • Here are some coloring worksheets for the five senses!
  • Students can see how they can use all of their senses to figure out mysterious substances using this lesson plan!

Book: The Science Book of the Senses
Neil Ardley
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 29 pages
Grades: 1-5
ISBN: 0152006141

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