Follow the Scent

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In this outdoor, sensory activity, learners role play as animals trying to identify their "family's" scent and locate their "territory." Learners mark their territories and sniff out other territories marked with flavors and smells like peppermint, vanilla and onion. Learners also explore how humans set up and mark territories, and what role scent plays in the learners' real lives. This activity can be made simpler for younger learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • small sticks or nails
  • colored construction paper, contact paper or yarn (four colors)
  • masking tape
  • scissors
  • kitchen sponges
  • small bottles of 4 flavor extracts
  • plastic bags (bread loaf size)
  • plastic zip-lock bags (sandwich size)
  • paper bags
  • 2 large flags
  • 4 plastic vials (7-dram size)
  • 1 liter of water
  • 1 ball of string (at least 150 meters long) (optional)
  • paper towels (optional)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
    • Evolution
      • Evidence for Evolution
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Smell
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Games
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • be mobile
  • smell
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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