Exploring the Five Senses Project-Based Learning Unit

Exploring the Five Senses
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A Comprehensive Lesson on the 5 Senses - Taste, Touch, Sight, Smell, and Hearing

Learn about the 5 senses, experiment with smell, taste, and touch, create a working homunculus, explore the variations of scent by experimenting with a "Super Sniffer," and synthesize that knowledge by designing and creating an online comic strip featuring a superhero with super senses!

Your students will learn all about the 5 senses of touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing while applying research, experimentation, and descriptive writing skills in this complete project-based learning unit on the 5 senses for grades 4-6 science. They'll learn all about each of the 5 senses, explore each one in detail with various experiments, discover the answers to challenging senses-related inquiry questions, and then create and present an online comic strip of their own featuring a superhero with super senses.

What's Inside

Packed with hands-on inquiry-based activities, extensions and enhancements, cross-curricular independent and group work, and engaging and interactive challenges, this 73-page project-based unit comes complete with:

  • For the Teacher: A complete Five Senses Lesson Plan with step-by-step instructions for all activities, teaching tips, assessment guidance, and inquiry questions.
  • For Students: A full-color Student Pack complete with all of the printables, slides, photos, and instructions students need for the research, experiments and activities - just print (or share) and teach!

A complete, ready-to-teach Teacher Pack that includes:

  1. Teacher versions of all the student printables with step-by-step annotations and notes for teaching the 5 senses;
  2. Formative and summative assessments, answer keys, and a full project rubric;
  3. Instructions and guidance for the extension activities and project enhancements;
  4. Materials and resources lists, links to articles, videos, and research, plus additional resources for lecture and presentation.

What's Included

Lesson Plan - Step-by-Step Project Guide

  • Milestone 1: The Sense of Touch
  • Milestone 2: Sense of Smell
  • Milestone 3: The Sense of Taste
  • Milestone 4: The Senses of Sight and Hearing
  • Milestone 5: Five Senses Project

Teacher and Student Resources

  • List of Materials for the Projects in this Unit
  • Books About the Five Senses (oprional)
  • Teacher Notes for Sense Organs: Skin, Nose, Tongue Lecture
  • Sense Organs: Skin, Nose, Tongue Facts Handouts
  • Collecting Data for a Homunculus Activity
  • Creating a Homunculus Drawing Activity
  • The Sense of Touch Activity and Answer Key
  • The Sense of Smell Activity and Answer Key
  • Milestone #1 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt
  • Insect Senses Reading Passage
  • 3-2-1 Reflection KWL Chart for Insect Senses Reading Passage
  • The Sense of Smell Reflective Writing Prompt
  • Teacher Notes: Setting Up for the "Super Sniffer" Project Activity
  • "Super Sniffer" Activity Instructions and Handout
  • Milestone #2 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt
  • The Sense of Taste Activity and Answer Key
  • Teacher Notes: Setting Up for the "Mapping Tastes" Project Activity
  • Test Your Taste Buds Activity
  • Teacher Notes: Setting Up for the "Super Tasty" Project Activity
  • Super Tasty Data Collection Sheet Handout
  • Milestone #3 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt
  • Five Sense Quick Quiz and Answer Key
  • Teacher Notes: Sense Organs, Eyes and Ears Lecture 
  • Sense Organs: Eyes and Ears Facts Handout
  • The Senses of Sight and Hearing Activity and Answer Key
  • Sight and Hearing Activities Guide
  • Milestone #4 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt
  • Senses Scavenger Hunt Activity
  • Nervous System and Senses Video Review Writing Activity
  • Super Senses Project Instructions and Guidelines Handout
  • Super Senses Story Writing Handout
  • Milestone #5 Inquiry Question Writing Prompt
  • Five Senses Summative Assessment and Answer Key
  • Five Senses Project Rubric
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Lesson Plan - Exploring The Five Senses Project-Based Learning Lesson
Teacher Pack - Exploring The Five Senses Project-Based Learning Lesson
Student Pack - Exploring The Five Senses Project-Based Learning Lesson


This project-based learning lesson is designed to support and reinforce the concepts taught as part of a science lesson or unit on the 5 senses. It is built around 5 inquiry-based milestones that incorporate cross-curricular hands-on projects, formative and summative assessments, independent and group activities, and extensions.


In the course of this project-based learning unit, students will:

  • Build background knowledge about the 5 senses by researching and studying each in detail;
  • Explore the specifics of each sense using different experiments, such as creating a homunculus or a "super sniffer;"
  • Research and understand how the senses work together to provide continuous information to the brain;
  • Participate in a variety of inquiry-based challenges for each of the 5 senses;
  • "Show what they know" by using their research, experiments, and descriptive writing skills to produce an online comic strip featuring a superhero who has a combination of "super senses."


Students will acquire necessary background knowledge of the 5 senses as part of this project, and instructional materials for providing that background are included in the Teacher Pack. 


This project-based unit is divided into 5 milestones. The minimum suggested duration for completing this project-based unit is 5 class periods. However, the unit is completely flexible can be lengthened or shortened as necessary or desired, based on available class time and interest level.


  • Internet access
  • Presentation software (Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides)
  • Access to the MakeBeliefsComix website (provided)



These activities support the following NGSS curriculum standards:

  • 4-LS1-2: Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
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