Scent Tag

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In this matchmaking activity (on page 2 of the PDF under GPS: Animal Scent Activity), learners will each have a scented cotton ball taped to their shoulder. The scent (e.g. peppermint oil or almond extract) will be kept secret by an adult while the participants walk around silently, sniffing each other's cotton balls in search of anyone sharing the same scent. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV GPS: Animal Scent.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Game


Materials List (per group of students)

  • a dozen cotton balls
  • masking tape or medical tape
  • a variety of scents or essential oils, such as peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, almond extract, or lemon oil
  • a bunch of friends! Eight or more is better!


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
    • Ecology
      • Populations
    • Evolution
      • Mechanisms of Evolution
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Smell
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Games
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • smell

Learning styles supported:

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


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • DragonflyTV


  • All rights reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., 2006

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 515566