Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Using Senses in My Community
Lesson 2
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


In this lesson the students will use all their senses to appreciate and celebrate the differences and similarities of shapes, colors, fruits, a rainbow and the human race, and therefore understand how humans depend on all our senses to understand the world.


Two Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


The learner will:

  • use his/her senses to observe the world.
  • sort and describe picture cards by senses.
  • analyze how many senses we use simultaneously.
  • define common good and give examples in the local neighborhood.


  • read aloud copies of My Five Senses by Aliki, The Listening Walk by Paul Showers and On the Town by Judith Caseley.
  • English and Spanish Parent Letter (Attachments Two and Three)
  • 13 cards prepared with pictures of objects (see below)
  • copies of Attachment One: Senses Chart
Handout 1
Senses Chart
Handout 2
English Parent Letter
Handout 3
Spanish Parent Letter

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Tell the students that you want them to imagine they are going on a listening walk along with this book. Read aloud The Listening Walk by Paul Showers to the students. You may also choose to read On the Town by Judith Caseley. These books take the students on a walk through different communities, observing things as they go. Ask the students to compare the things in these two books with the things they think they will observe on a walk through the community surrounding the school.

  • Go for a sensory walk through the school neighborhood. Tell the students to use all of their senses as they observe the sights, sounds, smells, and textures.

  • When you return to class, make a chart with the five senses at the top of five columns. Under each heading write down what the students observed on their sensory walk.

  • Have older students write a description of the community using the brainstormed words. (Younger students may dictate a description and illustrate it.) For example, "The community is noisy with cars honking, colorful with houses, feels windy, and smells like exhaust."

  • Define the common good as promoting the welfare of all members of the community. Ask the students to highlight or star the items in the brainstormed chart that benefit all people in the community.

Day Two:

Read aloud My Five Senses by Aliki. Through their response to the text, lead students to recognize that they use their senses to learn about their world. Ask, "Can everybody use all of their senses to learn about their world?" "What are some of the things we can do to help a person that has lost his/her sense of sight or hearing or the ability to use hands?"

  • Scavenger hunt setup: Cut out 13 objects from magazines and glue them on 13 index cards. Choose simple objects with which students are familiar such as fruits, toys, flowers, etc. Number the cards from 1 to 13. Write the name of the pictured object on each card. Hide the cards around the room with the pictures visible.

  • The students work in teams to find as many of the 13 index cards hidden around the room as possible. When they find the cards, they check (or write) on the chart what senses can be used to observe the object. The cards stay where they are hidden for others to find. Tell students that as they find pictures, they should be subtle so they don’t give away the hiding spot to the other teams.

  • Have a discussion about the items in the scavenger hunt. Have students tally the number of senses they used. Discuss which senses they used the most.

  • Reflect on the progress of the service project started in Lesson One related to a homelessness issue. Ask the students to think about what senses they use at home such as the smell or feel of a favorite stuffed toy or the taste of a home-cooked meal. Make a list of their ideas and use the list for a writing activity. For example, students may write a sentence expressing thankfulness for something they have. "I’m glad I have soft sheets and warm blankets in my home." or "I’m glad I have people who love me in my home." (Be sensitive to the home situations in your class. You may have some homeless children in your class or children with few resources.)

  • Ask the students to bring their favorite fresh fruit or canned fruit to create a "Friendship Fruit Salad" to share with another class in Lesson Three. (See Attachments Two and Three for Parent Letter.)


  • Observe student participation in discussions and brainstorming.
  • Assess student writing, giving a point for each sense described as well as a point for using a complete sentence.

School/Home Connection:

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
Ask the students to bring their favorite fresh fruit or canned fruit to create a "Friendship Fruit Salad" to share with another class in Lesson Three. (See Attachments Two and Three for Parent Letter.)

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

  • The students bring a science activity about the five senses to another classroom to teach others about using the five senses to observe the world.
  • Further extensions can be found at http://www.learningpage.com.

Bibliographical References:

  • Aliki. My Five Senses. New York: HarperTrophy, 1989. ISBN: 006445083X

  • Showers, Paul. The Listening Walk. HarperCollins, 1993. ISBN: 0064433226

  • http://www.learningpage.com (2000) The Five Senses Sheets.oo1 (Free Membership)

  • Caseley, Judith. On the Town: A Community Adventure. Greenwillow, 2002. ISBN: 0060295848

Lesson Developed By:

Marilyn Castillo
Godwin Heights Schools
North Godwin Elementary School
Wyoming, MI 49548


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Senses Chart

Which sense is used to observe each pictured object? Make a check mark or write a word that describes what that sense observes.

What object is on the card?

The Human Eye

The Nose

The Ear


The Palm

Total senses used at the same time for each picture

Ex: gum







#1 _______







#2 _______







#3 _______







#4 _______







#5 _______







#6 _______







#7 _______







#8 _______







#9 _______







#10 _______







#11 _______







#12 _______







#13 _______








Handout 2Print Handout 2

English Parent Letter

Dear Parents,

Today we learned that by using our five senses we can learn more about the world we live in. The book we read today was, My Five Senses by Aliki. In this book a boy is talking about how he discovers all the things in his world by using his senses. At the end of the book he says, "Wherever I go, whatever I do, my senses are working. They make me aware." When you are together with your child ask him/her, "what senses are you using? What have you discovered?" You may use the following vocabulary when asking you child about what senses he/she is using:

  1. different, same
  2. sight: eyes, see, shape, low, high, color, size
  3. smell: nose, odor, strong
  4. hearing: ears, loud, soft, sound
  5. touch: skin, hard, rough, smooth, cold, hot, feel, texture
  6. taste: tongue, sweet, salty, bitter, sour, cold, hot

We are making a friendship fruit salad. Please send in one cup of your child’s favorite fruit on ______________________. It could be canned fruit or fresh. If you are sending a banana or any other fresh fruit, please do not peel it and cut it up. We will do it when we make our salad.

Thank you very much!

________________________________ Teacher


Handout 3Print Handout 3

Spanish Parent Letter

Apreciados Padres,

Hoy aprendimos acerca de cuanto más podremos aprender de nuestro mundo si usamos nuestros cinco sentidos a la misma vez. El libro que leímos se llama, Mis Cinco Sentidos por Aliki. En esta historia un niño esta hablando de todos los sentidos que él usa al mismo tiempo a travez del libro. Al final del libro el niño dice, "Donquiera que voy, cualquier cosa que haga, mis sentidos están trabajando. Ellos me hacen tener conciencia." Preguntele a su niño(a), a dondequiera que valla con él/ella o cualquier cosa que hagan juntos, cuales sentidos han usado a la misma vez? Que has descubierto? Usted puede utilizar el siguiente vocabulario (comparando y contrastando) cuando le pregunte a su niño(a) acerca de cuales sentidos ha usado a la misma vez:

1. diferente, igual
2. vista: ojos, mirar, figura, baja, alta, color, tamaño
3. olfato: nariz, olor, fuerte
4. escuchando: oido, alto, bajo, sonido
5. tocar; piel, duro, aspero, suave, frio, caliente, sentir, textura
6. sabor: lengua, dulce, salado, amargo, agrio, frio, caliente

Queremos hacer una "ensalada de la amistad" con frutas. Por favor de enviar el siguiente dia______________________ una taza de fruta con su hijo(a). Puede ser enlatada o una fruta fresca. Si usted va ha enviar un platano o guineo u otra fruta fresca, por favor de enviarla con la cascara. Nosotros se la quitaremos cuando hagamos la ensalada de frutas.

Muchas Gracias! 

_________________________ Maestra


Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Sense of Community (A) Summary


Houses and Communities
Using Senses in My Community
Eating Together as Good Citizens

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