If you are looking for quick, no prep activities for first grade students to learn and write about their five senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound, then you are in the RIGHT PLACE!
I'm a first grade teachers and let me be honest by saying that planning social studies and science is never top on my priority list!
That was UNTIL I realized there are some hidden gems in the form of golden opportunities when it comes to my science instructions.
Read this post if you want to learn how to build in intervention time and meaningful writing opportunities while teaching your first grade students about the five senses.
The main things students need to know in first grade are:
- The five senses help us notice and learn from the world around us. They can also alert us or keep us safe from dangerous situations.
- The five senses help us classify objects by observable properties such as heaver, larger, shape, color and texture.
- The five senses help us identify the three types of energy: light, sound and heat.
Learning the Facts to Identify the Five Senses for First Grade
Okay, “Guided Research” sounds like a super formal term… but what it really means is that these are the activities that we do together as a class and there is typically a right or wrong answer.
This is where I introduce new vocabulary and I am “guiding” students through books or videos to find new information. We are then recording that new information on a simple recording sheet.
These activities are completed at the beginning of the unit when students are just starting to build their knowledge base, so these activities might seem easy, but remember, they are BUILDING their knowledge on the subject.
My favorite book for teaching students how to describe objects using their senses is “I Hear a Pickle” (seen on the left). You can find an affiliate link to purchase it here:
This unit includes excellent color clipart examples of the five senses that provide great visuals for first grade students.
I love using open ended prompts like the one you see on the left on the “All About Touch”. It's an excellent opportunity for you to model how to use adjectives correctly when you are describing an object using the five different senses.
I love the freedom that it gives me as a teacher to lead the discussion where I need it to go, but I also love that it gives students an opportunity to get really creative.
You can easily differentiate this activity by having students draw, label or even write complete sentences.
Interactive States of Matter Journals
Next up comes cut and paste activities. These are PERFECT for when students are ready to become a little more independent.
You can still complete these together as a class, OR you can have students complete the activities independent FOR… wait for….
EXTRA INTERVENTION time for math and reading!!
YES! I use my last 30 minutes of the day (for social studies or science) to sneak in a little more intervention time.
I get my students going on an independent activity such as a cut and paste, then I pull back a group of 3-4 students for extra reading or math intervention rather than having them complete the social studies activity… because what's really more important?
You can read more here:
Writing about the Five Senses for First Grade
I always love to wrap up my first grade five senses unit with independent writing.
I feel like this is the optimal way for students to show me what they have learned and also improve on their writing skills!
You really have so many different options when it comes to writing. Here are my three go to forms of writing about states of matter:
- Sentence Writing: students write one sentence about each of the five senses.
- Informational Writing: Students write a paragraph about what they have learned about the five senses.
- Sensory Poems: Students use each of the five senses to write a sensory poem/riddle that describes an object.
For students who are pretty independent, I let them work on their own. For students who are struggling a little bit, I write out sentence stems for them to use.
I always like to encourage students to use real life examples in their writing which is SO easy for the five senses because we use them everyday!