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List of Activities



This list of activities was developed by Max Darby and is related to the file Sensory Awareness Part 1.

 


The activities in this section have been designed to assist students to develop an awareness and appreciation for the environment by increasing their ability to use their senses effectively. Some activities are in the form of sensory games, suitable for students of all ages (although the earlier students are introduced to sensory activities the quicker they will take on board sensory explorations of their own).

 

 


The list is far from exhaustive and teachers should be on the look out for other activities that can be added to the list, or develop their own. Some activities provide lists which teachers can use to assist students to exercise their recall of their personal sensory experiences. All activities are intended to encourage students to:

be more aware of the role which the senses play in understanding, enjoying and appreciating the world around them.

be more perceptive to potential opportunities to use the senses for enjoyment and enquiry – in fact to actually seek sensory experiences.

 

 


Activity 1.



Ask students to select and bring to class a lemon they prefer for some reason (let them determine the reason). Provide a short time in class to study it carefully, especially its feel.

 


Break students into groups of about 8 and get each student to place their lemon into a box or bag where they can’t be seen. A blindfold might make it more fun.

 


Each student in turn is asked to try to recognize their own lemon by touch alone. All lemons remain in the container for each student to feel.

 


Students explain to the rest of the group what particular features impressed them when they made their initial selections and which helped them to find their ‘own’ lemon in the container. This will require them to draw on descriptions of things observed through their senses.

 


Other items, such as stones could be used.

 


The full range of lemons from the whole class could be lined up and variations in size, texture, color and shape noted. Quick drawings of lemons could be based on these variations. They might involve lemons if different situations.


 


Activity 2.

 


I have used this activity with students and also with staff at a whole staff meeting.

Students are asked to bring to class a flower or flowers (or the teacher can provide them) which they then examine, perhaps using a magnifying glass, to see what they can see and discover.

 


Comparisons between the different flowers can be made. Some questions which might initially be used by the teacher with the whole group to encourage observation at this early stage are:



What kind of flower is it?

How many petals does it have?

Do different flowers have different numbers of petals?

What colors can be seen in the petals? Are there variations of color within petals and between petals?

Are there different kinds of petals on the one flower?

Are there seed pockets or pods evident? Where?

Does it have a long or short stem?

What are the stamen and where are they?

Where is the pollen held?

 


Students are asked to place the flower out of sight. A checklist such as the following can be used to give students an idea of many considerations they might have made but probably didn’t (students might be given time to consider answers). You obviously need to know the answers. Maybe the Biology teacher could be involved.

 


Did you consider?


The weight of the flower

The weight of a single petal

Variations in surface texture of the petals

Variations in color in the petals

Variations in size and shape of the petals

Whether the petals break easily away from the flower

The flexibility of the petals

The amount of moisture the flower contains

The fragility of the stem

The hair follicles growing on the petals and stem

The difference between the two sides of the petals

Whether the petals have veins

How it feels to rub the petals on your skin

How a petal tastes (it is essential to alert students to poisonous varieties and if you use this question you need to have provided the flowers yourself.

How the flower smells

Where the smell is located on the flower

Why flowers have an attractive smell

Why flowers are colorful

When and where flowers are grown

Other questions you have time to include.

 


The benefits of getting students to use their observations in their own artworks should not be ignored. Although the major intention of the analysis of the flower was to get students to develop their sensory awareness, the value of the activity for the students will be enhanced if they then use their findings in an art work or series of works. Some pen and wash studies of flowers and plants could be undertaken in specially made workbooks and these could be accompanied by showing students some botanical studies made by artists, or even from Darwin’s investigations. Alternatively, the studies could be done on silk with dyes.

 


Similar activities can be planned which allow students to observe and analyze other objects including constructed and made objects. These can be used in place of the flower or in an extension activity.

 


Separate activities can be devised for other sensory facilities. The key to richer sensory awareness lies in the development of all of a student’s sensory facilities. Like many artists they need to learn to investigate, explore, search, discover and experiment. Nothing in their environment should be considered too small or unimportant to observe.

 


I once examined a student’s folio where the appearance of the works had to be considered along with the smells, textures, tastes and sounds she had created to go with the works. They were a part of the works rather than just things to accompany them, and included hand made perfumes, burning incense and varieties of teas. The works were seen in a darkened room that was lit with flickering candles, making the visual sensations vary. The folio of works provided a total sensory experience.

 

 


Activity 3.

 


This activity focuses on the sense of Seeing. It is closely related to the following four activities which address other sensory experiences. There are many extension activities included below after the initial activity. All activities are intended to exercise each student’s capacity to recall many of their past sensory experiences and to encourage them to look for further interesting sensory experiences and to apply them to their own art making and appreciating.

 


Students are organized to sit comfortably and focus quietly on a list of things read out (obviously the list can altered). Some students do this best by closing their eyes. The idea is for them to try to imagine and replay in their mind quite intensely how the following things look-

 


A flock of seagulls

Waves splashing over rocks

Tress in a fog

Headlights of a car in the distance at night

A city from high up such as from a plane or building

Fireworks

A flower garden

Colorful clothing

Snow

Long grass blowing in the wind

A pile of dried leaves

An artwork you admire

Your face in a mirror

Market stalls

A pizza

A candle flickering

The sun setting

Oil on water

Smoke from a fire

Reflections on a wet day

Beach umbrellas

A field of wheat

Football supporters

Lightening

A junk yard

A cliff face

A computer game

A supermarket shelf

Total darkness.

 


Students draw up a list of the different and unusual sights they have seen. The really unusual sights can be shared with the class. They are encouraged to focus on things they see during the next week.

 


Students experiment with making unusual visual effects themselves using objects found in the art room. Materials and media might be experimented with in unusual combinations or ways.

 


Small groups of students are given the task of collecting visually different everyday objects and making an arrangement that places objects beside other objects in unusual or unexpected  ways. This project could be done in a forest or beach setting. The ‘environmental form that is constructed should not cause damage to the natural environment and should be returned to its natural state before leaving the location.

 


Students are taken to a public space such as a town or city square or school assembly area and make a series of quick sketches which show the nature of different activities that can be seen happening there over time.

 


Students isolate some interesting visual effects, for example, as found in magazines, and see whether other students can identify them. Small or large sections can be cut out for viewing.

 


Students find a common object with interesting visual characteristics and compare the many varieties they can discover e.g. spider webs, car tyre treads, show patterns, signposts etc.

 


Students make their own artwork that displays a range of interesting visual effects.

 


Students investigate or research artists who have used an interesting range of visual effects in one or more of their works.

 

 


Activity 4.

 


This activity focuses on the sense of Hearing. It is closely related to the other four major activities which address other sensory experiences. There are many additional activities included below after the initial activity. All activities are intended to exercise the each student’s capacity to recall many of their past sensory experiences and to encourage them to look for further interesting sensory experiences and to apply them to their own art making and appreciating.

 


Students are organized to sit comfortably and focus quietly on a list of things read out (obviously the list can altered). Some students do this best by closing their eyes. The idea is for them to try to imagine and replay in their mind quite intensely how the following things sound-

 


Water boiling

The crackling of a log burning

An umpire’s or referees whistle

A squeaky door

A bird chirping

Air-conditioning

A fan

Rustling of leaves on the pavement

The sound of wind in the trees

A dentist’s drill (hopefully the students tell you they haven’t heard it!)

An egg being broken

Bacon cooking in a pan

A drum beating

Silence

A train at night

A chain saw

A lawn mower

A fog horn

An airplane taking off

A car horn

A clock chiming

Thunder in the distance

Thunder overhead

Rain o n a window

Scissors cutting paper

Waves breaking

A horse galloping

A door slamming

A basketball bouncing

Fingernails scratching a board

A baby crying

Teeth grating

 


Students draw up a list of the different and unusual sounds they have heard. The really unusual sounds can be shared with the class. They are encouraged to focus on things they hear during the next week.

 


Students experiment with making unusual sounds themselves using objects found in the art room.

 


Small groups of students are given the task of collecting everyday objects and making a ‘sound sculpture’ arrangement that they perform for the class. They need to create a drawn ‘language’ that allows the group members to replay their arrangement at a later time…a form of sketched music that indicates time, length of sound and combinations of sounds. I have had student use things such as bottles, jars and other containers that are struck with various objects to create sounds, and invent some really interesting sketched notations.

 


Students are taken to a public space such as a town square and make ‘sound drawings’ which locate the kinds of sounds noises heard and where they were experienced. Other sensory experiences might also be included on this drawing.

 


Students explore the full range of sounds that can be made form a single item or kind of material. For example, what happens when the selected item is dropped, blown, scratched, rubbed, cut, hit, flicked, thrown, twisted, tapped, burnt etc.

 


Students leave a recording devise in a safe but public place for a set time (e.g. and hour) and record sounds made in the vicinity. Try to recognize all of the sounds recorded. Play some of the recorded sounds at different speeds.

 


Students make an artwork showing an aspect of sound, eg noise, silence, a scream, fear etc.

 


Students investigate or research artists who have made sound or noise the topic of one of their works.

 

 


Activity 5.

 


This activity focuses on the sense of Feel. It is closely related to the other four major activities which address other sensory experiences. There are many additional activities included below after the initial activity. All activities are intended to exercise the each student’s capacity to recall many of their past sensory experiences and to encourage them to look for further interesting sensory experiences and to apply them to their own art making and appreciating.

Students are organized to sit comfortably and focus quietly on a list of things read out (obviously the list can altered). Some students do this best by closing their eyes. The idea is for them to try to imagine and replay in their mind quite intensely how the following things feel-

 


A rough object

A wet towel

A plastic pen

A mound of sand

Barbed wire

An old timber fence

A hot handle

A thorn in a finger

A silk scarf

Sticky tape

A worm

The blade of a knife

A sheet of glass

Rusted metal

Bark on a tree trunk

A cat’s fur

An oily surface

Cold shoes

The sun on your back

A rough coat

A ball of string

A leather bag

Honey

The wind in your face

A brush in your hair

An old tennis ball

A can of drink

Skin on a peach

Tissue paper

An injection

 


Students draw up a list of different and interesting surfaces or things they have touched. The really unusual surfaces can be shared with the class. They are encouraged to focus on things they touch during the next week.

 


Students experiment with making an artistic arrangement using a variety of interesting textures they can locate. The focus of their work should be on inviting people to touch it.

 


Students are taken on a walk to collect ‘rubbings’ of different surface textures they can find. Paper and pastel or wax crayons can be used to make the rubbings. These can be cut and glue into an interesting artistic arrangement or composition.

 


Students make a ‘touch test’ of interesting surfaces they can find for other students to feel. It might be organized so that the object can not be seen (it is important that nothing dangerous be used such as broken glass). This activity will also emphasize the challenges for those without site. An example of Braille might be shown to students.

 


Students work in small groups to make a tactile/textural wall mural ’ using a range of surface textures.

 


Students make their own artwork that uses the effects of surface texture as its major focus.

 


Students investigate and research artists who have made works that rely on textural surfaces for their appeal. These will not just be confined to sculptures. Many paintings and ceramic and textile works also have interesting textural qualities.

 

 


Activity 6.

 


This activity focuses on the sense of Taste. It is closely related to the other four major activities which address other sensory experiences. There are many additional activities included below after the initial activity. All activities are intended to exercise the each student’s capacity to recall many of their past sensory experiences and to encourage them to look for further interesting sensory experiences and to apply them to their own art making and appreciating.

Students are organized to sit comfortably and focus quietly on a list of things read out (obviously the list can altered). Some students do this best by closing their eyes. The idea is for them to try to imagine and replay in their mind quite intensely how the following things taste-

 


Salt

Nutmeg

Pineapple

Sausages

Pizza

Hot bread

Grapes

Grass

Olive oil

Coco Cola

Tasty Cheese

Pepper

Strawberries

Medicine

Orange juice

Pickled onions

Chicken

Tomato sauce or Ketchup

Soap

Lemon

Chewing gum

Water

 


Students draw up a list of different and interesting tastes they have experienced (in many cases these might be different foods). The really unusual tastes can be shared with the class. They are encouraged to focus on things they taste during the next week.

 


Students bring to school interesting tastes from home for the class to sample. It is critical with this that the teacher ensures all things tasted are safe.

 


Students make a ‘taste test’ of interesting flavors they can find for other students to sample. It is interestign for them to contemplate the tastes and smells of the things they sample because often both go hand in hand.

 


Students make their own artwork that has as its theme ‘Taste and Smell”. Three are many topics that could be addressed here.

 


Students investigate and research artists who have made works that have taste and smell as their focus. Some of these might be restaurant scenes or cooking images.

 


There are many other activities on this website that have the senses as their focus. Many will be included in the Home Page site titled Activities.

Please accept the invitation to include any of your own for inclusion in the section provided below.

 

 

 


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3 Responses to “Sensory Awareness Part 2.”

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