Hidden food and spices

An exercise to bring ot young peoples ability to peceive and empathise with others

Pieces of foods and spices are inserted in non-transparent boxes with lids. The students smell at the boxes and try to describe to the others what food exudes such a smell without naming the food. The class has to guess the food.
In the next stage of the activity, the students are blindfolded and are asked to pick up various objects and smell at them. This activity combines both senses – smell and touch. The student has his/her back to the class and describes the food by touch and smell, for instance: It’s round, with a stem and it smells lovely – an APPLE. It’s a thin strip, about 6 cm long and 2 cm wide, and it smells of mint – a CHEWING GUM.
The children can also voice associations they get when smelling (SUMMER, CHRISTMAS) or try to describe what the object is used for.

How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives

  • Attitudes and attributes
  • Motivation and resilience

Actual outcomes

Educational objective: Learning to perceive our surroundings through smells that can sometimes warn us of dangers (gas leaks, smoke, spoiled food).
Training in description – forming short, simple, meaningful sentences that describe the subject without revealing its name.
Qualities in focus: Empathy (being able to imagine the world of blind people who rely on touching, smelling, hearing); attempt to approximate as much as possible what needs to be told; ability to make fast decisions
Target group, age of the students: 10–14 years of age
Suitable for: Czech – composition

Resources required

Non-transparent boxes, pieces of various foods (bread, banana, sausage, coffee beans, spices, etc.), blindfolding scarf

Time needed

1 unit – 45 minutes

What could have been done differently or is planned for future repeats?

This training in description (static and dynamic) as a stylistic figure was embraced enthusiastically by the students. They found out they can use smell for testing the environment, and that identification of basic smell qualities (pleasant/unpleasant) can often warn of an unhealthy and dangerous product or environment. The activity developed their imagination through touch and smell – senses largely neglected and untrained these days.

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