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Science Experiment: Sense of Smell

Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!

Purpose: To learn about your sense of smell. The sense of smell is still a bit of a mystery to science. For more information on the sense of smell see Smelling and Taste for Kids.

Materials Procedure
  1. Place a few drops of a scent on two cotton balls.
  2. Place each cotton ball in a film canister and replace the lid.
  3. Using the permanent marker on the top of both lids, label them both canister "A." The other canisters will be labeled in pairs as "B," "C," "D," and "E."
  4. Write the scent in the control chart.
  5. Repeat Steps 1-4 with the other four canisters, putting a different scent for each pair.
  6. Now you are ready to test your partners.
  7. Have all partners waft the smell in canister A toward their noses. To waft, hold the container a short distance from your nose and using your other hand, wave the smell towards yourself. You never want to directly smell an unknown substance.
  8. Partners will then try to guess the smell.
  9. They will write their guesses on the data sheets.
  10. Compare the correct answers to each partner's responses.
  11. Blindfold your partners.
  12. Choose one of the scents and let each partner waft it towards himself/herself.
  13. Let partners smell the other scents until they find the matching scent.
  14. Repeat until all scents are matched.
  15. Take the blindfold off and let your partners see if they were correct!
  16. Now it is your turn. Repeat the second part of the experiment, steps 11-15.
Conclusion/Questions:
  1. Which smell was the easiest to match?
  2. Which smell was the most difficult to match?
  3. Why do you think some smells were easy and some were more difficult?
  4. How was your sense of smell affected while blindfolded?


Reference: NASA SciFiles

More Human Body Experiments
Pulse and Heartbeat - Take your pulse.
Skin Temperature - How does our skin lower or raise our temperature?

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