What’s That Smell?

Good afternoon scientists! Think you have a super sniffer? Try playing What’s That Smell.

MaterialsWhat's That Smell (2)

Various Materials: Pick Mostly Items You Smell Regularly (We used lemon, orange, cinnamon, onion, sweet pepper, and carrots)

Cutting Board and Knife **Adults Only**

Plastic Cups or Bowls

Construction Paper & Packing Tape (Or Press and Seal Paper)


Marker or Pen or Pencil Or Other Writing Utensil


  1. Pick various materials to use for this investigation. Cut items into pieces (if needed)and place one material in each cup.What's That Smell (4)
  2. Cut the construction paper so that it fully covers the top of your cup and seal with tape. Poke holes in the top so that you can smell what is in each cup.
  3. Place your cups in a row and number each cup.What's That Smell (10)
  4. Have your little scientist smell each cup and write down their guess.What's That Smell (19)
  5. Check to see what was in each cup. Talk about which ones you could figure out and which ones were hard. Discuss why?What's That Smell (31)

Talking Points

In this experiment you tested your ability to smell. We have five senses: sight, smell, taste, hearing, and feel.

The nose is part of the Olfactory System, the body system that is responsible for the sense of smell. Inside of our nose is we have a bunch of tiny receptors (Think of them like catch mitts for particular smells) that are connected to our brain. When we breathe in we take in oxygen and smell molecules for whatever is in the air. When a smell molecule enters our nose the receptor is activated for that smell and sends a message to our brain telling us what we smelled.

In our game What’s That Smell we had to rely only on our smell receptors and memory to tell what was in each cup. It is more difficult to identify what was in each cup then usual, most smells are made up of more then one type of smell molecule. Our brains rely on the smell receptors as well as our other senses such as taste, sight, and feeling when determining what an item is.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s