Submitted by: Chris Ladner
Grade level: middle-years,secondary,post-secondary
Core Competencies: critical-thinking,communication
Subject Disciplines: outdoor-education,social-studies
By: Chris Ladner
August 12, 2020
Assessment: Assessing our environment using all
For students to become more aware of their
environment through their senses.
For students to appreciate their place.
Pen and paper/journal
Clothing for the weather and place
Recommended: Five Senses (See below)
Group can be any number that is supported by the
Assemble as a group with leader focus.
Suitable for ages 10 and above.
See Adaptions are for older students.
Any outdoor location (Suitable for indoors as
well, but better in the outdoors)
Ideally a forest, mountain, beach or park.
In a moment you will spend ten minutes finding
an object that you can touch.
Leave the object as you found it undisturbed. Do
not move it, or pick it up. Just let it rest where it wants to be.
You may take a picture with your phone.
Spend a few minutes ‘sensing the object’. This
means activating each of your five senses and noticing what your body is
telling you about this object. (To taste you can either imagine or lick your
finger after touching (not plants))
In your journal write about:
Identify the object
Use each of the classic five senses (See Five
Senses below) to assess/understand the object.
Write a detailed description of the
object and its environment.
What does this mean to you?
Does this object have a purpose? What meanings
come to mind?
What is the object doing? What happened to it?
What will happen to it?
How will it change over time? How much time will
it need for these changes?
Could it be of use to you in some way?
What judgement do you attribute to it? (This
may require some explanation for younger students)
Deserving of respect or not
Important/ not important
What will we do with this object? How has its assensement
Let’s make up a story about the life of this
object that you can share with the group. Include its identity, meaning and
for older students
What attracted us to this object?
What was our predisposition that caught our
attention? Were we thinking of something prior to our selection which
influenced our choice?
What was it about this object – attributes, our
disposition, needs (Outdoor Education Educators)?
Intention is actually the first step.
Driven by instructions by you wanted to be here…
What was it about this object that it chose to
make itself available for you to sense?
Where did it choose to be? What surrounds it and
Is this object a solid, liquid, gas or plasmic?
Definitions of States of Matter (Solid, liquid,
Discuss physical attributes of each state. What state(s)
does our object exhibit? Now and in the future?
Could we apply these attributes to the way we
observed our objects?
Solid: identifying, naming, quantifiable
Liquid: applying multiple meanings that may
change the more we sense it, qualitative.
Gas: What values did we attribute to it? What
philosophy is evoked?
Plasmic: How did we feel about this object? Did
it inspire us? Did it make us think something? Was there a deeper, more spiritual
feeling about it?
The Five Classic Senses
A haptic (touch) mnemonic (memory device) for
remembering the classic five senses.
Suitable for all ages.
Stretch out your arms straight out in front of
Hold up both your hands so you can see the back
of your hand all your fingers spread apart.
Notice we have five fingers on both hands and
five classic senses.
Keeping your fingers spread apart, bring your
hands back so both your thumbs are gently on your ears, keeping your elbows up.
Rotate your hands so that both your index
fingers rest on your eyebrows. (Seeing)
These are what we call your ‘higher’ senses –
hearing and seeing. Notice that you have two ears and two eyes. Why do we have
two of these sensory organs? What do you think they do for us? (Spatiality,
stereoscopic, distance, place in space, distant sensing (danger)…)
Now place both your middle fingers on the sides
of your nose. (Smell)
Did you know that we have the same smell organs
in other places in our bodies? These can detect chemicals in our blood.
Now place your fourth fingers on your mouth
Taste and smell often work together.
Now place your baby fingers on your chin (Touch)
These are our ‘lower senses’ – What are the
differences between lower and higher senses?
These are your five senses and how we can
remember them using our hands. (Repeat?)