Zoom In, Zoom Out


Zoom in

Zoom out

Classroom view

Activity overview

15 mins
Ages 5 – 7

Science topics:

Animals, including humans

Take a much closer look at this familiar object. See if your class can use their reasoning skills to work out what it is…

Run the activity

You will be zooming in and out of the image above – starting very close and stepping back slowly.

1. Start by asking everyone:

  • What do they think the image is and why?
  • What does the image remind them of and why?

2. Every time you zoom out, ask the class:

  • Can they describe the colours, shapes and textures?
  • What do they think the image is now – have they changed their minds?

Background science

You can tell dogs apart using their nose-prints in the same way we tell humans apart with their finger prints. That’s right, no two dog nose prints are the same! If you look closely at a dog’s nose, you will see lines forming a pattern, much like our finger prints! What else is special about a dog’s nose? They can breathe in and out at the same time whereas we can only do one or the other. Their sense of smell is a lot stronger than ours which is why we give them special jobs to help keep us safe.  

Human’s sense of smell improves as we get older. Children aged 4-5 years old find it more difficult to identify smells than those aged 10-11 years, although this may be partly about language development. By the age of 18 or 19 our sense of smell is fully developed. 

Take it further

Children could investigate if we do get better at smelling as we get older. They could put different smells (banana, lemon, orange, mint and coffee etc) in pots, cover them with paper, poking a few holes in the top so that the children can sniff the smell but not see the objects. They could then investigate how well children in their class identified the smells, compared with older children and adults around school. 

Lots of animals have special markings. Encourage reasoning by asking your children to decide which is the Odd One Out with Mystery markings

Ask your children to ponder this question: What if we couldn’t smell things? 


Image: © Wellcome Trust