Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Using balls of cotton wool that have been doused in different scents, children experiment with using their sense of smell to understand the world around them, and then talk about how animals use their sense of smell.

Learning goals:

  • This activity has been designed to demonstrate to children that there are more ways of knowing the world than just through what we see.
  • Students learn we have five senses and smell is one of them. Smell is one of the ways that we know our world.
  • Many animals use smell as much or even more than they use sight.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 1 Science

  • Participate in different types of guided investigations to explore and answer questions, such as manipulating materials, testing ideas, and accessing information sources (ACSIS025)

Year 1 English

  • Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening behaviours, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions (ACELY1656)

Year 2 Science

  • Participate in different types of guided investigations to explore and answer questions, such as manipulating materials, testing ideas, and accessing information sources(ACSIS038)

Year 2 English

  • Listen for specific purposes and information, including instructions, and extend students’ own and others’ ideas in discussions (ACELY1666)

Syllabus OutcomesEN1-1A

Topic: Biodiversity

Year levels: 1 and 2

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Time required: 20 mins

Learning areas addressed: Science.

Resources required: Cotton wool buds soaked or dabbed with different scents. Use anything that has a distinct smell and that can be applied to a cotton bud. For example, you can use: eucalyptus oil, vanilla essence, coconut essence, almond essence, perfume, antiseptic lotion or solution, dishwashing liquid, vinegar, fish sauce, or rub the cotton buds with different herbs such as mint or basil.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: smell, senses, observations, experiment, data.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

This activity requires a little preparation. You will need to soak or dab cotton wool buds with different scents (see Resources Needed on previous page) for children to smell. Lay the buds out somewhere where children can smell them without handling them.

Activity outline

Most of us move around the world using mainly our eyes to see what’s around us. But many animals use their noses to get around too.

Using the scent balls ask your class if they can identify any of the smells:

  • Have they smelt that smell before?
  • What do they think it smells of?
  • Is it a good smell or a bad smell?
  • Does it suggest a warning or something nice?
  • Does it smell like food or something to avoid?
  • Do they like the smell?
  • Do they have a favourite smell, both on the buds and in general (lots of people love the smell of a particular flower or of bread baking)?

Talk to your class about how animals use their sense of smell to find food or to warn them of danger.

Ask your class to ima

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Student Worksheet

Activity outline

Most of us move around the world using mainly our eyes to see what’s around us. But many animals use their noses to get around too.

Your job is to smell the cotton balls and think about the following questions:

  • Have you smelt that smell before?
  • What do they think it smells of?
  • Is it a good smell or a bad smell?
  • Does it suggest a warning or something nice?
  • Does it smell like food or something to avoid?
  • Do they like the smell?
  • Do they have a favourite smell, both on the buds and in general (lots of people love the smell of a particular flower or of bread baking)?

 

Ask your class to imagine they are an animal - what would their noses tell them?:

  • If they were a rabbit, what types of smells would tell you there was some food nearby?
  • What types of smells would tell them there was some danger nearby?
  • What about if they were a mouse, a tiger or a deer?
  • How would the wind help or hinder animals that use a sense of smell to alert them to food or danger?
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