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Sense of Smell – What Scent can you Sense?

In exploring our 5 senses, we have up to now learned about our sense of sight, hearing, taste, and touch.

Our last of the 5 senses to explore is our sense of smell.  Smelling something delicious or fragrant can bring back a special memory, and transport us to somewhere special. The scent of fresh apple pie in the oven…  oh, that takes me to fall gatherings around the dinner table, and Thanksgiving in particular. Not so nice smells can trigger some reactions in us too!  It goes without saying that the nicer smells are much more pleasant to experience!

KidsHealth explains in detail how your nose helps you smell:

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Nose diagram
Nose Diagram from

The nose allows you to make scents of what’s going on in the world around you. Just as your eyes give you information by seeing and your ears help you out by hearing, the nose lets you figure out what’s happening by smelling. It does this with help from many parts hidden deep inside your nasal cavity and head.

Up on the roof of the nasal cavity (the space behind your nose) is the olfactory epithelium (say: ol-FAK-tuh-ree eh-puh-THEE-lee-um). Olfactory is a fancy word that has to do with smelling. The olfactory epithelium contains special receptors that are sensitive to odor molecules that travel through the air.

These receptors are very small — there are about 10 million of them in your nose! There are hundreds of different odor receptors, each with the ability to sense certain odor molecules. Research has shown that an odor can stimulate several different kinds of receptors. The brain interprets the combination of receptors to recognize any one of about 10,000 different smells.

For our experiment, we put different foods on a plate, had our volunteers close their eyes, and use their sense of smell to guess what it was.

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Both of our volunteers guessed all of the food samples correctly – lemon, banana, and clementines!

Sometimes isolating and focusing on using one sense at a time, makes us truly appreciate how our different senses help us experience the world in a very rich way.  We should definitely take good care of our body, because our bodies sure do a whole lot for us every single day!


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Itsy Sparks

Itsy Sparks

Dedicated to Igniting Young Minds, ItsySparks provides knowledge to foster learning, creativity, and exploration!