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Sensory System

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, Leslie Miller, PhD, Barbara Tharp, MS, Katherine Taber, PhD, Karen Kabnick, PhD, and Judith Dresden, MS
Sensory System
  • Grades:
  • 3-5 6-8

The Sensory System unit offers a unique approach to learning about how the senses work, including visual illusions, and how the brain processes sensory information.

The Sensory System Teacher’s Guide provides students with information about the components of the sensory system, specialized receptor neurons that receive different types of information, such as pain, pressure, heat, cold, light and color, sound, odors and scents, taste, and touch, and send the information to the brain for processing. Activities help students discover, in a basic way, how the senses work together. Inquiry-based activities in the teacher’s guide allows students to answer the following questions.

  1. Windows to the World - Why do we have senses?

  2. The Big Receiver - Which areas of the brain receive information from the senses?

  3. Sensory Messages - How does the brain put together information from the senses?

  4. Vision and Illusions - How do optical illusions trick the brain?

  5. Can You Hear Me? - How can we protect ourselves from hearing loss?

  6. Tactile Tests - How discriminating is the sense of touch?

  7. Get the Point? - Are there differences in receptive fields on the body?

  8. My Sensory Strip - What is the role of the somatosensory cortex?

  9. Super Senses - If you could create an imaginary sense, what would the sense detect, how would it work, and where would it be found on the body?

The guide also is designed to be used with integrated components of The Sensory System unit: The Cookie Crumbles: A Case of Sensory Sleuthing (storybook), The Sensory System Explorations (student magazine), and The The Sensory System: The Reading Link (language arts worksheet activities related to the storybook).

Although the activities are most appropriate for use with students in grades 3–5, the lessons are easily adaptable for other grade levels. The guide also is available in print format.

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Download: The Sensory System Teacher's Guide

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Funded by the following grant(s)

Science Education Partnership Award, NIH

Grant Number: R25 RR09833

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