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ExplorA-Pond: 3rd Grade Scents

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 45 minutes.

Group Size:


Students use the olfactory sense to determine if a marker is appropriate 'food' or not. This experience helps students understand why so many animals rely on the sense of smell to find prey.

Liquid scents (peppermint extract, vanilla, rootbeer etc.); 12 sponges (1.5 cm by 1.5 cm); 1 blindfold; 12 markers (pennies, poker chips, or construction paper squares); 1 plastic bag (sandwich size); 1 plastic bag (bread loaf size);

Background For Teachers:
This activity focuses on the use of the olfactory sense in the predator-prey process. Mammals use their nose to sense smell and take in oxygen. Other animals sense smell through oher openings in their bodies. The sense of smell is so strong in some animals that dogs can locate illegal drugs deep within luggage. Hunters try to approach other animals from downwind, so that the animal will not smell them approaching.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students develop and use a simple classification system. Using their olefactory sense, students develop a system for placing certain smells in the 'appropriate' or 'inappropriate' category.

Instructional Procedures:
Take the top off a bottle of liquid scent. Students will quickly note how concentrated scents diffuse throughout a room. Point out that many animals can detect scents over great distances. 1. Divide your sponges evenly among the liquid scents (E.G. 12 sponges among three scents makes 4 sponges per scent). a) Mark one side of each sponge so as to identify with which scent it will be saturated. Use a non-soluble marker. b) Place two capfuls of scent and 8 capfuls of water into the plastic sandwich bag. c) Place a sponge in the bag and squeeze the plastic bag so that the scent saturates the sponge. d) Repeat step b until you have saturated enough sponges for that scent. e) Using a new sandwich bag repeat steps a,b,& c for the other scents. Move outside where the scents can diffuse quickly. Group the students in twosomes. Assign each twosome one of the scents. This scent becomes the scent of their prey. Each twosome now 'sniffs' out its prey. One student may wish to crawl on their hands and knees and using only the sense of smell determine if this sponge carries the scent of the assigned prey. The second member of the team can record the conclusion. Then they can switch roles for the next sponge.

Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia (Grolier's Inc, 1992)

Created Date :
Mar 19 1999 13:38 PM