Engaging Our Senses

Kids and teachers, alike, love field trips! At Almond Acres, we get students out into our community and natural world as often as possible, not only because it’s fun, but because it enhances our learning. 

Why might a lesson experienced on a field trip be so much more effective than one in the isolation of a classroom? Believe it or not, our five senses have something to do with it. 

In the classroom, we might use our sense of sight and sound to learn a new concept; hearing a story read to us, or reading a story to ourselves. In our natural environment, we use many more senses. Field studies provide the sight, sound, smells, feelings, and actions that make up an entire concept.
For example, a trip to the tidepools to study animal habitats engages your sense of smell with the fresh ocean air. You hear the seagulls and the crashing waves, You taste the salt in the air. You feel the gentle breeze on your skin. You see an anemone clinging to a rock. Each part of you is taking in and processing the experience, working in concert to create a memory of lasting learning.

An Almond Acres student smiles while holding a sea creature in her hand. She is standing in front of the rocks and water while on a school science trip.

Even a trip to California Pizza Kitchen can help children turn the abstract concept of fractions into concrete learning. They will never forget the sights, sounds and smells of cutting a pizza into equal parts. Smell is particularly effective at evoking memories–businesses engage your sense of smell often to entice you to return (can you follow your nose to Starbucks or Burger King?).

We use multiple senses and integrate more areas of the brain to remember knowledge or skills. Gathering data through all the senses is a powerful way to incorporate ideas and skills with any lesson. Those in multisensory environments always do better than those in unisensory environments that rely on technology only for learning. They have more recall, with better resolution, that lasts longer–evident even 20 years later. Try as they might, the digital world cannot authentically replicate a multi-sensory experience. 

Students from Almond Acres Charter Academy watch a museum docent use historical tools.

When teaching your child something new, make it a conscious exercise by identifying as many sensations as possible. Go beyond the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Ask questions about sight, sound, smell, taste, visual space/perspective. Be a sensational thinking coach. A sensational thinker has fifty percent more creative solutions when solving a problem

Our senses work together so it is important to stimulate them! Your head crackles with the perceptions of the whole world, sight, sound, taste, smell, touch–as energetic as a pool party. 

How are you engaging your senses daily? Getting outside is a great place to start! 

Learning Links

Gathering Data with Senses

Learning is Multi-sensory: How to Engage All Senses

Brain Rules #9 – Stimulate More of the Senses

About AACA

Almond Acres Charter Academy is a public, tuition-free K-8 school that employs credentialed teachers and administers state-mandated testing to provide families in northern SLO County an additional choice in public education. Located in Paso Robles in a newly built, state-of-the-art facility, AACA is open to all students from all communities. AACA’s mission is to help students succeed academically and socially by educating the whole child: heart, mind, body and soul. We grow great kids! 

How Are Charter Schools Funded?

How Are Charter Schools Funded?

California charter schools are publicly funded schools, but HOW they are funded differs from traditional public schools. Money for charter schools comes from four levels: federal, state, local, and private donations. Let’s take a closer look at some of these key...



Did you know that one of the smartest things we can do is to be thankful? Neuroscientists have proven that an ounce of gratitude can lead to clearer thinking, better sleeping, less stress, and smarter decision-making. The release of positive neurotransmitters in our...