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Mystery of the Senses—Touch

Classroom Activity


Objective
To test the skin's range of sensitivity.

Materials for each team
  • copy of "Touchy Areas" student handout (PDF or HTML)
  • two brads
Procedure
  1. Our hands are extremely sensitive to touch because they contain more nerve endings than other parts of the body. In this episode, a potter relies on his hands to determine the physical characteristics of his pottery that he can't see.

  2. To demonstrate the range of our skin's sensitivity, divide the class into teams of two, and give each pair two brads and a copy of the "Touchy Areas" student handout.

  3. Have students complete the activity. When they are done, discuss their results as a whole class. Compare the students' reactions to various parts of their bodies. What conclusions can the class make about which parts of the body are most sensitive to touch?

Activity Answer

This activity shows where there are high concentrations of nerve endings in our bodies, and that our bodies are most sensitive in areas where we have many nerve endings. For example, when they touch the fasteners to the palms of their hands, the students will feel two points because their palms have one of the highest concentrations of nerve endings in their bodies. When they touch the fasteners to their shoulders, the students will feel only one point, because they have fewer nerve endings in their shoulders than in their palms.

Teacher's Guide
Mystery of the Senses—Touch
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Video is not required for this activity


   

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