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In September 2015, Asifa Majid received the Radboud Science Award. As a consequence, Asifa and her “Meaning Culture and Cognition” group brought their research on the “Language of the Senses” to the classroom under the guidance of the WKRU.

Research-based learning
In collaboration with primary school teachers of de Peppels, de Canadas & de Troubadour, we developed research-based teaching material on the Language of the Senses. Combining  theoretical knowledge with practical exercises, children learned about the senses and conducted their own experiments.

Classroom projects
Children learned about Language of the Senses through practical assignments such as matching animals to their sounds in various languages (a Spanish rooster says ‘Kikiriki’ and an English one ‘Cock a doodle doo’), and so learned about sound-symbolism across cultures. They also tried to identify different smells by writing or drawing their experience.

Research Projects
After gaining some hands-on experience, children were invited to pose and answer their own research questions. They came up with interesting hypotheses and research questions, such as ‘What is the difference in taste descriptions between 7 and 70-year olds?’ and ‘Can all children see equally well?’  and collected their own data. They presented their results to the Meaning, Culture, Cognition group scientists.

During the 2016 Winterschool, the Language of the Senses was also introduced to school teachers nationwide through a lecture and workshop. Teachers participated in different exercises to engage the senses and learn about cross-cultural differences.

If you are inspired to bring Scientific Breakthroughs in the Classroom to children you know, you can purchase this book. Our chapter is available in Dutch and English.


Asifa Majid, Patricia Manko, & Josje de Valk (2017). Language of the senses. In Sanne Dekker  (Ed.) Scientific breakthroughs in the classroom! p.40-76. Science Education Hub Radboud University, Nijmegen

Asifa Majid, Patricia Manko, & Josje de Valk (2017). Taal der zintuigen. Sanne Dekker & Jan van Baren-Nawrocka (eds.) Wetenschappelijke doorbraken de klas in! p.128-166. Wetenschapsknooppunt Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen.

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