For many months now I have been working on a new project that is just about to launch: The Human Body Activity Book for Kids: Hands-On Fun for Grades K-3.
Working on this book has been my opportunity to put together a comprehensive set of resources and activities to help children learn about their bodies in a kid-friendly, developmentally appropriate way.
The Human Body Activity Book for Kids includes more than 30 on-the-page activities and hands-on experiments that will get kids excited about how amazing their bodies are. Featuring tons of cool facts and colorful drawings, this in-depth exploration of the human body for kids is a fantastic educational aid for parents and teachers.
In this post I’m sharing one of the hands-on experiments from the book that teaches kids about the temperature receptors in their skin.
Note: You’ll find more resources for learning about the human body on my Human Body Unit Study page.
Within our skin we have a variety of receptors that give us information about the things we touch and feel. Among these receptors are temperature receptors (aka, thermoreceptors) that tell us how hot or cold things are.
While temperature receptors do give us information about temperature, the data we get from them is limited. Specifically, our temperature receptors do not tell us the exact temperature of an object. Rather, our temperature receptors tell us about the relative temperature of one object compared to another.
This hands-on activity will help children understand how their temperature receptors work, and will make it clear that their temperature receptors are telling them how the temperature of one object compares to the temperature of another.
Temperature receptor activity
For this activity, you will need three glasses. It is better to use glass rather than plastic, because you want a material that conducts temperature well.
Fill one glass with hot water. It should be hot, but not hot enough to burn anyone.
Fill one glass with room temperature water.
Fill one glass with cold water, preferably using ice.
Next, invite your child to put one hand each on the hot and cold glasses.
Encourage your child to make sure the entire palm of their hand is touching the glass so they are getting a great deal of temperature information through their skin.
Have your child hold each glass for one minute.
After one minute, have your child grab the room temperature glass with both hands. Again, ensure their palms are touching as much of the glass as possible.
Ask your child to pay attention to their hands. How does the third glass feel to each hand? Does the temperature feel the same to both hands?
Most likely, your child will notice that the third glass feels cooler to the hand originally to touching the hot water and warmer to the hand originally touching the cold water.
This is because the skin does not provide exact temperature readings to the brain. Instead, it tells the brain how a new temperature compares to an old temperature.
Because the room temperature water is cooler than the hot water and warmer than the cold water, each hand is sending different information to the brain about the relative temperature of the room temperature water.
If you liked this activity. . .
This activity is just one many hands-on learning ideas included in The Human Body Activity Book for Kids: Hands-On Fun for Grades K-3.
In addition, The Human Body Activity Books for Kids includes:
- The complete guide to anatomy for kids: Teach kids what they’re made of with informative, illustrated chapters broken down by body system.
- Activities galore: Over 30 exciting activities–including connect-the-dots, crosswords, and off-the-page experiments–that keep lessons engaging.
- Tons of fun facts: Did you know hair grows slower at night and that you’re taller in the morning than the evening? Cool trivia makes kids want to learn more.
More Human Body Learning Resources
More Human Body posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Introducing the five senses
- Books about the five senses
- Sense of smell: Smelling bottles
- Sense of taste: Tasting bottles
- Sense of sight: Color grading
- Sense of touch: Thermic glasses
- Sense of touch: Sandpaper grading
- Sense of touch: Identifying 3D shapes by touch
- Sense of hearing: Making music
You’ll find more resources for learning about the human body on my Human Body Pinterest board.