Math Activities: Have Elementary Students Use Their Five Senses to Solve Problems

Math Activities: Have Elementary Students Use Their Five Senses to Solve Problems
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Have a taste test. You might have students taste four or five different vegetables, types of apples or even different flavors of jelly beans.

When students have tasted all of the items, graph their favorites. To extend the activity have each student think of two questions to ask about the graph. Then discuss the graph and their questions. You can repeat this same activity with a smell test.


The five senses provide opportunities for sorting. Your students can sort pieces of fabric by their textures, pictures of foods and whether they are sweet, salty, bitter or sour, or pictures of objects with different smells by whether or not they like the smell. You can also prepare a sorting activity with pictures of different objects and students can sort them by which sense they use - a thorn for touch, a rainbow for sight, a lemon for taste, etc.

Problem Solving

A popular five senses activity is to have children graph their eye colors. To extend this activity into a problem solving activity, ask your


students to figure out how many eyes there are in the whole class. Give them time to work and then discuss the answers and how they solved the problem. Students can also find out how many noses, ears, tongues and fingers there are in the class.

Growing Patterns

To introduce students to the ideas of a growing pattern, make a t-chart with one column labeled people and the other eyes. Then start filling the chart to show that if there is one person, there are two eyes and two people will have four eyes together. Ask the class to help you fill out the number of eyes for three, four and five people. Then give each student a blank piece of paper to copy the chart onto and challenge them to find out how many eyes for six people and ten people.


A fun activity to go with the sense of taste begins with reading the book Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillan. The book shows different foods cut into equal parts and then used in recipes. After reading the book show the class how to divide bananas into thirds, strawberries into halves and apples into fourths. Then let them taste the different fruits. On another day make one of the recipes in the book for a fun cooking activity.

Further Activities

Your students will learn a lot with these math activities for the five senses. Bright Hub Education also offers this other article on the five senses.

We’d love to hear if you have any other ideas–please post a comment!