Senses Try-it [retired]

This Try-it was introduced in 1993. In 2011, it was revised into the new Senses Try-it. See the page for the new badge for additional ideas.

You learn about your world in many ways. Seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting are the five senses that send messages to your brain about the world around you. You use your senses all the time, even when you don't know it!

As with all older Brownie Try-its, scouts need to complete 4 activities to earn the badge.

Only the Nose Knows Edit

Your sense of smell can be very helpful. For example, if food smells bad, you probably won't eat it Here is a "smell" test to try out on a friend.

You will need:

  • A paper or foam egg carton
  • A bandanna for a blindfold
  • Some paper and tape
  • Some "smelly" items, such as cinnamon powder, lemon peel, pepper, clove powder, nutmeg, chili powder, garlic powder, soap, toothpaste, or baby powder. Ask an adult to help you find more spices from the kitchen or other things with strong smells.
  1. Break apart the egg carton into separate little cups.
  2. Put a small amount of one thing to smell in each cup. Write on a piece of paper what each smell is and attach it to a cup.
  3. Blindfold a friend. Have her guess what each smell is, using only her nose. Check her answers by reading the papers.

Make a Better Ear Edit

Many animals depend upon their sense of hearing to find food. Do you ever wish that you could hear better? Let's see if you can make a better ear.

For this activity you are going to need:

  • A loud ticking clock
  • Paper plates
  • Construction paper
  • Newspaper
  • Paper cups
  • Cardboard rolls from paper towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String

With these materials, design a pair of ears that will hear the ticking of the clock before anyone else. Should they be small or should they be large? Should they be long or should they be short? Try it!

When you are ready to test your ears, have someone take the ticking clock across the room. Close your eyes and listen. You might want to turn your body so that your ears face the direction of the clock. The person with the clock will move closer to you. As soon as you hear the clock ticking, raise your hand and sit down. May the best ears win! Talk about what you have learned from this activity with the rest of the group. Can you find some pictures of animals that have ears like the ones that you made?

Now You See It Edit

Can you always believe you eyes? Make a toy that used your eyes to trick you. If you close your eye tight, what do you see? You will see the last thing you were looking at.

You will need:

  • A piece of heavy paper or light cardboard that is cut into a 2" square.
  • Markers or crayons
  • A pencil
  • Some tape
  1. Hold the paper so that it looks like a diamond, not a square. On one side, in the middle of the paper, draw a fishbowl without the fish.
  2. On the other side of the paper, draw a fish. Place your fish on the paper so that if you hold your paper up the light, the fish would be swimming in the fishbowl.
  3. Tape your paper onto the pencil point, with the bottom of the diamond at the top of the pencil tip.
  4. Hold the pencil upright between your hands. Rotate the pencil so the paper flips back and forth. Look at the paper. Where is the fish? Why do you think it is there?

Can You Feel It? Edit

Your sense of touch helps you find things in the dark and to tell hot from cold. Insects have antennae to help them feel their way around. You have hands.

For this activity you will need:

  • 2 large paper bags
  • 2 of everything else (for example, sponges, dried beans, mittens, pennies, rubber bands, spoons). Make sure you do not pick anything sharp!

Put one of each into each of the paper bags. Shake the bags up, then reach into each bag without looking. Can you find the matching objects using only your sense of touch?

Mapping the Tongue Edit

Think about the different kinds of tastes. Mmmmmmm. They can be sweet, salty, sour, or bitter. When you eat something, does your whole tongue taste it? Find out how and where you taste things by making a map of your tongue.

You will need:

  • 4 small dishes or clean plastic film canisters
  • 1 teaspoon each of sugar, vinegar, and salt
  • 1 teaspoon of unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 4 cotton-tipped swabs
  • A sheet of paper
  • 4 different colored crayons or colored pencils
  • A cup of water for rinsing your mouth

Do not share the dishes or the cotton swabs or the cup.

  1. Place 1 teaspoon of each of the substances – sugar (sweet), vinegar (sour), salt (salty), and grapefruit juice (bitter) – into a different dish or canister. Add a little water to each of the first three.
  2. Draw a big letter "U" on your paper. This is your tongue map.
  3. Dip a cotton swab in the sweet solution. Touch it to at least four different parts of your tongue. Wherever you taste something sweet on your tongue, mark the same unit on your tongue "map" in one color of crayon.
  4. Rinse out your mouth very well with water. Use a different cotton swab and a different solution to do the next parts of your map for salty, bitter, and sour tastes. Rinse out your mouth between each solution.
  5. You now have a map of your tongue's taste buds. Does your tongue taste the same flavors in the same spots? Where does your tongue taste things that are sweet, salty, sour, and bitter?
  6. Compare your map with the map of another girl's tongue map. Are they the same?

What's It Like? Edit

What is it like to be missing one of your senses? How do you communicate if you cannot hear? People who cannot hear often use sign language to communicate with others. Learn how to sign your name using the sign language alphabet on page 86 of your Brownie Girl Scout Handbook or learn how to say the Girl Scout Promise (or some other phrase) in American Sign Language.

Additional Resources Edit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.