14 chapter 3
Taste Children use their tongues to determine how
something tastes. The human tongue has taste recep-
tor cells that help identify four main taste sensations:
salty, sour, sweet, bitter. Combined with the sense of
smell, these four taste sensations give humans the
sensation of flavor.
Touch Children can use their hands and feet to deter-
mine many characteristics of different materials and
objects using the sense of touch. Children also use
their mouths to observe the texture of food by com-
paring cooked and uncooked vegetables. This helps
them to understand that their mouth can work much
like their hands as a tool for observation.
Sound Children use their ears to determine charac-
teristics of objects related to sound such as frequen-
cies, pitch, tone, rhythm, and strength of a sound.
Listening to, making, and sharing sounds with others
are enjoyable activities for young children and provide
a foundation for other simple science concepts.
Classification is a skill used daily in the lives of both
children and adults. Most children begin at a very
early age naturally arranging various objects in their
world into groups. They classify crayons, toys, books,
clothes, kitchen utensils, and so on into different
groups or sets. Very young children often classify
such objects according to size, color, and shape. Older
children can make more complex differentiations
based on such attributes as number concepts, func-
tion, mass, volume, and so on. Adults also live in a
world based on complex classification schemes. Cars,
grocery items, clothes, and departments in stores
and offices are all classified and arranged according to
some grouping plan. Therefore, classification is a very
natural and relevant skill.
Similarly, to investigate the world, scientists clas-
sify objects in their environment. Biologists, geolo-
gists, chemists, physicists, and environmentalists all
use extensive classifications systems to organize their
investigations and work. This process of classification
connections through the senses and problem solving
are brain-compatible learning strategies that increase
the number of neural pathways in the brain. Children,
who develop these five senses and thus their skill
of observing, relate to the world around them with
greater accuracy and greater depth. Observation skills,
particularly phonological awareness (listening), are
essential tools in becoming a better reader and pos-
sibly a more successful learner in many other areas.
Making observations is one of the scientist’s most
fundamental skills. Similarly, as scientists conduct
their investigations, they must use their five senses
to obtain information regarding their experiments.
We use our senses every day to acquire information
about the world. With young children, observation
usually focuses on properties of objects (color, size,
shape, and so on) and patterns in the environment. It
is important to remember that young children need
to move slowly through the observation process in
the beginning. They need a guided tour to assist them
in focusing on the small details and appreciating the
fine nuances occurring in using the five senses. Fur-
thermore, this depth of observation also lends itself
to rich opportunities in language development.
For young children, the science cooking/food
activities in this chapter are helpful in developing the
skill of making observations. Because observation can
be defined as learning about one’s world through the
five senses, these observation activities are separated,
with related cooking/food activities provided for each
sense: sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.
Sight Children use their eyes to observe similarities
and/or differences between objects and events. Our
sense of sight enables us to know the size and shape
of objects. “Eighty percent of the information received
by the brain comes in through our eyes” (Gossett,
Delano, Kramer, Welk, and Wood 1994, 2).
Smell Children use their noses to determine if things
have an odor or not. They also use their noses to
determine the many different scents of objects and
the strengths of those scents.
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