Becoming an Observer

Becoming an Observer

Designed By: Lynn Strafford

Age Level: 5-7

Materials Needed

  • acorn-1 per student
  • magnifying glasses
  • nut cracker
  • chart paper
  • pictures with five senses to identify

Background Information

Young learners are excited about learning. However, they are often unaware of how their senses help them to learn about the world around them. Therefore, it is important for them to learn about their five senses and how they help them learn and observe the world around them.

Prior to this lesson, students should learn about each of the senses. They can read books about senses and how to experience using them. Children can also work together to make a class book about what they observed and experienced with each sense.

For example, students learn about their sense of sight by looking for objects around the playground (or classroom if weather did not permit). They describe what they see by telling the color, types of lines, or shapes noticed in the natural world. Once they describe the object, they identify it. Each of them complete the sentence, "I see a _____." This sentence can later be illustrated and compiled into a class book about their sight experience.

On another day, present a tray of 5 objects to the class. Each student has approximately a 30 second opportunity to look at the objects on the tray. After all students see the tray, then each student identifies one object they saw on the tray. They also tell list the characteristics that helped them identify the object.

For a glue bottle, some responses may be, “It was a bottle shape. it had an orange top. It looked like a white substance inside the bottle.” 

Similar hands-on activities and experiences can take place for each sense-sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell.

Activity Description

1. Ask students what the best way is for us to learn about what is around us. What can we use that we always have with us to learn about the things around us? What are some things we can learn using our five senses?

2. Read and discuss, My Five Senses by Aliki. Make a list of the five senses. How can we use each of them to learn about the world around us? Allow students to share their knowledge of each sense and relate back to their prior experiences. Stress that we will use all of our senses to make an observation to learn about an object.

3. Give each student an acorn. Have them use their five senses to make observations about it. (i.e. color, shape, smell, hard, soft, what’s inside, size, any sounds,….) Record class observations on chart paper as a whole group. Discuss what they learned about the object using their senses.

4. After all observations are recorded, have students identify the sense used to make each observation. Allow one student at a time or a pair of students to place a picture representing the sense next to the sentence.

5. Graph the number of times each sense was used. Identify what sense was used most, least, or equally. What did we learn by using that sense?

6. Take students outside to search for acorns around school grounds. Ask, "Where did you find them? Where do you think acorns come from?"

7. To extend the activity and allow students to inquire more about the acorn complete the following activities on the same day or in the future.

  • A. Develop questions about the object.
  • B. Create a hypothesis.
  • C. Read books about acorns to gather more information such as From Acorn to Oak Tree by Jan Kottke.
  • D. Use the internet to find out more information from trusted sources.
  • E. Make a book about the facts of acorns where students illustrate their learning: where they grow, what they are used for, what eats them…..


The Five Senses: Treasures Outside by Moncure
The Five Senses by Herve’ Tullet