How to make a great school project for the sense of touch, Harry Potter style!

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The School Project Brainstorm

This week my daughter and her classmates had to hand in school projects presenting the different aspects of the five senses. My daughter was assigned the sense of touch. She had to present at least 8 different touch-sensations: warm, cold, smooth, rough, etc. So we thought of doing it as follows.

Finding the Right Shoe Box

First of all we used a rather large shoe box. My wife had bought some boots recently, and it turned out to be one of the best purchases she has ever made because of the box, not the boots. The boots were too warm and uncomfortable to wear in our climate. Fortunately a cousin bought them. Now, the box was perfect for this school-project.

The doors to the chamber

Then, with a sharp instrument (knife, cutter, etc), we cut eight openings in the box, three on each side and one on each end. We left the cardboard on so that each entrance had its own door. This way the children could put their hand in to feel what was inside each opening.

Eight Sensational Sensations

Next, we fixed the following objects just inside each entryway with silicon: 1. A dish smeared with sticky hair gel. 2. A swatch of soft furry material, the kind they use to make stuffed animals. No, we did not sacrifice any child’s toy, we just happened to have the piece handy by chance; 3. A strip of rough sandpaper from the hardware store.4. A thin toothpick, held up by skewering a paper cup with it and gluing the cup to the box.5. A round plastic ball.6. A hard stone. Who knows where my daughter got it from.7. A cold gel pack, the kind you use to take care of bruises or sprains.8. And finally we covered the last door with transparent cellophane to simulate the sensation of pressure.

The Contents of the Chamber of Secrets

After all that, we named the box the “Chamber of Secrets,” a reference to the second Harry Potter book and movie. Needless to say, my daughters and we are fans. Then we put the lid on the box and glued a printout with the following text (using the Harry Potter font that can be found with your favorite browser and downloaded for free):

The Instructions for using the Chamber

Open one of the doors to the chamber of secret and guess what is inside…Do you recognize… …the horn tail dragon’s oozy drool?nt …the soft mane of the unicorn?…or the basilisc’s rough scales?…the painful tip of Gryffindor’s sword?…or the shape of the Golden Snitch?…or will you recognize the hard Filosofer’s Stone?…and when you feel something cold, try to guess what it might be (not to worry, very few people have died upon touching it)WARNING: Do not be surprised if you feel the pressure of an invisible barrier…!

Can learning always be this much fun?

Suffice it to say that my daughter got an A for her project, and the children in her class went wild. Can learning always be this fun?