Most of us rely heavily on our sense of sight. We can observe the world around us even from a distance…and that can be a problem. The sense we count on most is the most remote.
Hearing is the next most common source of information…and the next most remote. Sound comes to us from a distance. The sound waves may enter our ears to do the actual transmitting, but they don’t really become a part of us.
Touch is more “tangible.” We have to be in contact with something to learn anything about how it feels. When we use our sense of touch, the learning is more immediate–more personal.
By now you can see where I’m going with this.
When we use our sense of smell to learn about our environment, the molecules actually enter our noses and interact with our body’s chemistry to send information to our brains. Recollect of the smell of a tropical storm moving in from the Gulf, the aroma of coffee over a campfire, or the tang of gunpowder. Though we rarely think of smell as it relates to education, it is actually a very powerful tool.
The most intimate sense of all is the sense of taste. Not only do foods interact with neural receptors on our tongues, but the food we ingest actually becomes a part of us in a very real sense. Your students will have tons of fun sampling Native American foods like cactus pears or jerky, imagining they’re explorers tasting corn–or alligator–for the first time, or sampling chuck wagon beans and biscuits.