|Our sense of touch shows us the shape, size
and "feel" of our world.
Discussing the helpful aspects of this sense leads down many interesting pathways.
We are kept SAFE by learning to avoid touching a burner or a flame, a sharp edge or point, very cold metal, ........ any other suggestions?
Our feelings are HAPPY when we stroke a dog, when we get a hug, when ..... ?
Our feelings are SAD when we run into something hard, cut our finger, .... ?
We wonder why we ITCH and why scratching that itchy nose relieves it.
Then the TICKLING CONUNDRUM is simply in a class of its own. Why does tickling make us laugh? Why are certain parts more ticklish than others? Why can't we tickle ourselves? Why is tickling funny for only so long, then it make us peevish? So many great questions arising from scientific cogitation, many are unanswerable to us but maybe we can find an expert who will help us with answers.
THE TOUCH DETECTOR
The body organ used for touching is the SKIN. Every bit of skin all over our bodies, including our nails, is used for touching. The nerve endings in the skin send signals to the brain, the brain analyzes the signals and registers the effect of the touch, then signals the reaction to the rest of the body. Some sections of the skin are more sensitive than others. To demonstrate this take an object with an irregular surface (a Ping-Pong paddle works well) and touch it to the elbow, the knee, .... anywhere but the hand, and try to identify the surface characteristics. Finally touch the paddle to the fingertips. The fingertips win "hands down" in the high sensitivity touching contest!
Make your own touch surfaces by coating index cards with
glue, then spreading on separate cards items such as
popcorn, sugar, flour, seeds, sand, paper, soil, etc.
This time put in each numbered bags a sample from a variety of fabric items such as: a towel, a sock, a tee-shirt, denim or corduroy jeans, a sack, a lace curtain, something suede, something furry, and so on. The rules are the same as the Surface Quiz above.
CHARTING AND RECORD KEEPING
Chart some different touch sensations, determine their opposites and select common items and chart their touch characteristics.
WHERE AM I?
Here's a touching story.
Scientists are researching and investigating the sense of
touch with very interesting results. They have invented
artificial hands to work robotically in places where human
hands cannot work; places such as deep space or tiny spaces,
places where there are dangerous conditions or materials,
places where the robot hand can be remotely controlled. To
make such robots the inventors must examine exactly how our
hand and brain work together when we use our sense of touch,
and then copy it into a machine.
Look at A GRASPING ROBOT to see how an actual robotic hand operates.
For an entertaining book about touch and
the other senses, read:
The "Minutes from ME" Archives