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Activities

Skin as information gatherers

Background

Our skin protects us from the vagaries of nature. It is also our largest sense organ. A prick of a thorn or the touch of a hot vessel is instantaneously communicated and we take evasive action. Spread all over our body, our skin not only senses the sharpness or bluntness of objects, the softness or hardness of objects, but also differences in temperature. 

Aim

Discover how skin helps in providing information of the objects around us.

Discover that the skin is of different sensitivity in different parts of the body. 

Activities

Assemble various objects of different textures - silk, wood, smooth and rough stones, etc. Put them in a box. Ask your friends to describe how the various objects feel? Compare what your friends say and find out if all the descriptions are the same.

Blindfold your partner. Touch him gently on the forearm with a cloth, which is made 1) warm 2) cold 3) wet. Could your friend differentiate the three cases? Try it with other friends.

Blindfold your partner. Place an object gently on his toes. Could he identify the object? Could he describe its texture? Could he say if it was hard or soft, smooth or rough, hot or cold? Try with other friends.

Blindfold your partner. Drop a small piece of paper on your partner?s hand. Could he feel it? If yes, cut the paper into half and drop one piece on the same spot as before. Go on cutting and dropping until your partner can no longer feel it. How small was the piece of paper then. Repeat at some other spot, for example on the back of his hand or on his feet. What results do you get? Try on other friends.

Sit down on a cane/wire chair; a sofa or a bed; on the floor and on the ground. Can you find out if the surface is hard or soft, warm or cold? How did you find out?

Take a sharp pencil and poke different parts of your body with it gently. Do you feel the same everywhere? Make a body map showing the areas of the skin, which are most sensitive, and least sensitive to the pencil poke. Remember to poke yourself gently.

Related Questions

Are your nails and teeth also sensitive to touch? What about your hair?

Some animals have fur on their bodies. Will this make them less sensitive to touch than you? How can you find out?

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