STEM: Lessons About Our Senses in Kindergarten

Our kindergarten students recently participated in a set of memorable experiments about some of their primary senses:  hearing, vision, smell, taste, and touch. Ms. Lee asked her class to create hypotheses about the contents of mystery items hidden in eggs, using only the sense of hearing.  She also encouraged guessing about mystery smells like pencil lead, coffee, vinegar, food items, and wax.  Finally the class was asked to make some educated guesses about whether some foods would taste salty or sweet, using their senses of vision and touch before tasting.

To help the students visualize both their hypotheses and the results, Ms. Lee created large and easy-to-read lists that included both pictures and text, for our emerging readers.  After each experiment, the teacher reviewed the results with the class and wrote a conclusion at the bottom of the list of hypotheses and results.  To add to the teaching, Ms. Lee made a large spreadsheet that listed the total number of students who liked or disliked each item tasted during the experiment. As a final step, students were asked to demonstrate their learning through the use of art and writing, creating both a picture related to their favorite sense and writing a sentence to answer the question, “Why is ______ your favorite sense?”.

Our teachers create wonderfully engaging lessons for our students, and are experts at integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and/or math into their lessons, even for our youngest students.  This lesson is a great example of age-appropriate STEM / STEAM learning in the kindergarten classroom, as it uses science (creating hypotheses, collecting data, and analyzing the results) and math (tallying the results and relating them to the hypotheses as well as parts of a whole) to extend the students’ learning about the senses.