Teacher's Guide for ODYSSEYTM Love at First Whiff: The Nature of Smell
Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
Article / Page
"1 Nose + 1 Brain = 10,000 Smells," pg. 6
"A Big Fat Italian Dinner," pg. 12
- Start with a box of chocolates to follow the human sense of smell from the nose through the brain. Sidebars discuss the inheritance of smell receptors (pg. 8), smell and memory (pg. 9), and the chemistry of odors (pg. 10).
- Structure and Function, Cause and Effect
"Scents-ual Smells," pg. 16
- Explore the complex associations between smell and taste and find out why an impaired or lost sense of smell is dangerous.
- Vocabulary, Inductive Reasoning
"Design Your Own Fragrance" (Activity), " pg. 18
- Perfume manufacturers combine top, middle, and base notes to produce pleasant fragrances. A sidebar (pg. 20) explains why smelling sweet can prove costly.
- Cause and Effect, Applications
"If We Smelled in Color: A Triolet," pg. 21
- Gather some ingredients and concoct a perfume that is as unique as you.
- Vocabulary, Following Directions
"The Smell Game" (Activity), pg. 22
- In poetry, synesthesia is the use of one sense to describe another (e.g., loud clothes). This poem explores the possibilities of visual smelling - in color!
- Pattern Recognition, Figurative Imagery
"Why Don't Flowers Smell Sweet Anymore?", pg. 24
- How well can you recognize and remember odors? Experiment to find out, and then investigate how what you see affects what you smell.
- Experimental Design, Data Interpretation
"Mom. . .My Computer Smells!" pg. 27
- Flowers have been bred for color, size, and shelf life at the expense of fragrance, says molecular biologist Natalia Dudareva. In the future, genetic engineering may help plants regain their aromas.
- Vocabulary, Drawing Conclusions
"You Can Run But You Can't Hide. . .Yet!" pg. 30
- Researchers, inventors, and scent creators have developed the Scent Dome. Attached to a computer, it mixes and releases scents in response to an electronic signal.
- Deductive Reasoning, Applications
"Take a Whiff on the Wild Side," pg. 36
- Mosquitoes sniff out human blood and transmit diseases that kill millions each year. In search of better ways to foil these insects, scientists are finding out how mosquitoes track their prey. A sidebar (pg. 33) gives tips on avoiding West Nile virus.
- Vocabulary, Applications
"What's Up (including Planet Watch)," pg. 40
- The smell superstars of the animal world include wolves, sharks, dogs, and even lobsters. The smell skills of rats and wasps help in the search for illegal drugs and land mines. A sidebar (pg. 39) describes E-Nose, an electronic sniffer used by astronauts.
- Vocabulary, Inductive Reasoning
- Saturn and Jupiter are visible in the evening skies, while Venus and Mars appear in the hours before dawn. Take star photos (pg. 42) to prove that the Earth spins.
- Observation, Following Directions
Classroom "Syzygy": Talk, Connect, Assess
- Discuss how and why we make judgments about odors. What smells good? What smells bad? Why are these smells placed in these categories? Are some odors pleasant to some people and revolting to others? What might explain the difference?
- Think of examples of odors that bring back memories. How old are the memories? How vivid? Brainstorm possible uses of smell memories. For example, would television shows be more exciting if certain odors wafted from the TV set?
Pg. 6 - "1 Nose + 1 Brain = 10,000 Smells"
Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine (Famous Quotes Edition)
pg. 30 - "You Can Run But You Can't Hide. . .Yet!"
- Talk It Over:
- Only 300 of our 1,000 smell receptors actually work. How would life be different if we could use them all? Would some differences be good? Would others be bad?
- Review the sidebar "Beam Me Up, Smell-ie!" on page 9. Discuss the connections between smell and memory. Do you think the "Proust phenomenon" is real? How would you define it? Have you ever experienced it? How might you study for a test, making use of the smell-memory connection?
- Mathematics/Statistics: Reread the section "Ready, Set, Smell!" on page 11. Design and conduct an experiment or survey that will let you compare the smell abilities of class members. Make sure you collect numerical data. Use tables, graphs, and statistical tests to help you draw conclusions from your data. Present your findings in a scientific paper or on a poster.
- Language Arts: Use the following sentence as a writing prompt: "I love the ____ best of all." Put a season in the blank and write two poems. In one, leave out smells. In the other, include as many seasonal smells as you can. When the class reads poems, compare the differences. Are "smelly" poems more powerful and vivid?
- Art/Design: Review the sidebar "The Chemistry of Smell" on pages 10 and 11. Invent a smell category scheme of your own and draw a diagram to represent it. Use labels to explain how your scheme relates to the three properties that give molecules an odor.
- Student Assessment:
- In a three-paragraph essay, describe how humans smell. After your introduction, explain briefly what odors are. In your second paragraph, show how odors are processed in the nose. In your third paragraph, follow the nerve impulses in the brain that let people recognize and identify an odor.
- You were trying to do too much while getting ready for school, and you burned the toast. Write a creative story that follows the odor from the toaster to your nose and on through your brain. End your story with a physical response triggered by a message from your brain to your muscles.
- Talk It Over:
- What methods of preventing mosquito bites does you family prefer? Do you have any favorite treatments? List both and discuss any scientific basis they might have.
- How do mosquitoes detect odors? How does their sense of smell compare to that of humans?
- Public Speaking/Debate: Proposition - Because mosquitoes are the most deadly of all living things, scientists and governments worldwide should work to eradicate them completely. Organize teams and hold a debate.
- Visual Arts: What can people do to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases? Design and produce a series of public service posters offering advice on avoiding mosquito bites. Display your posters in your public library or town hall when mosquito season draws near.
- History: Research the impact of mosquito-borne diseases on human history. Focus on a particular event such as the building of the Panama Canal or a particular geographic region such as sub-Saharan Africa. Create a class booklet or a bulletin board display of your findings.
- Student Assessment:
- In a brief essay, explain how knowledge of the smell sense of mosquitoes may lead to new ways of protecting people against disease.
- Give a speech to persuade your listeners to wear long sleeves and long pants in mosquito-infested areas, no matter how hot the weather.
When an aristocrat confronted Samuel Johnson,
Individual/Whole Class Project: Organize a "Smelly Poetry" contest. Release an odor into the classroom (from a hidden source) and give every student 15 minutes to write a poem about it. Poems can be serious or funny. Read the poems aloud. Vote on the best and give prizes. Send poems to the school or community newspaper for publication on National Sense of Smell Day, April 26, 2003.
He made her stop and think.
Community Connection: Many law enforcement agencies use drug-sniffing dogs. Invite an officer to tell the class about how the animals are selected, trained, and employed.
She said, "Mr. Johnson, you smell!" He said,
Small-Group Collaboration: Divide the class into teams of two or three students. Challenge each team to come up with a "Smell IQ Test" for all class members to take. Score the tests and discuss strengths and deficiencies in class members' knowledge.
"Yes, madam, I smell, but you stink!"
Whole-Class Display: Plan and host a Sense of Smell Day celebration for your school. Create fragrances, play smell games, hold smell contests, and "decorate" classrooms and halls with odors.