Our Senses: Creating Your Reality

Your senses are one of those things you don’t think much about, yet they are constantly at work shaping your perception of the world. Now the senses get the scientific spotlight at Denver Museum of Nature and Science's Our Senses: Creating Your Reality, an exhibition for the whole family that playfully reveals how and why what we perceive is not all, or exactly, what’s actually going on around us. In a series of interactive galleries, visitors to this exhibit will enjoy some "sensory overload" as they play with color, pattern, sound, scent, and touch and discover how there's so much more to our senses than just the usual five.

Beside the many resources on the senses listed below, Denver Public Library has the power to get you, your family and friends into Denver Museum of Nature and Science for free! Just pop into our Museum Pass Program calendar, pick a date with tickets available, and off you go. The Our Senses exhibition will run through August 4, 2019, so you have plenty of time to grab some passes and give your senses a test. In the meantime, here are some library resources to get you started on your own exploration.

Our Senses: an Immersive Experience by Rob DeSalle, illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne - In twenty chapters with beautiful illustrations and diagrams, the author maps out how our bodies see, hear, taste, smell and touch—and the genomics behind their evolution in the many common ancestors who came before us. DeSalle curated the original "Senses" exhibition!

Flavor: the Science of Our Most Neglected Sense by Bob Holmes - In this compelling exploration of our most neglected sense, veteran science reporter Holmes shows us just how much we’re missing. Considering every angle of flavor from our neurobiology to the science and practice of modern food production, Holmes takes readers on a journey to uncover the broad range of factors that can affect our appreciation of a fine meal or an exceptional glass of wine.

Deviate: the Science of Seeing Differently by Beau Lotto, illustrations by Luna Margherita Cardilli and Ljudmilla Socci - Lotto, founder of the London-based Lab of Misfits and a popular TED talker, ventures into fascinating and puzzling territory in this book of popular science. The author examines the difference between reality, whatever that might be, and perception, our way of sensing and ordering the world, and he locates a meaningful gap between the two in which nearly anything can happen.

Playful Learning Lab for Kids: Whole-body Sensory Adventures to Enhance Focus, Engagement, and Curiosity by Claire Heffron and Lauren Drobnjak - The activities explore concepts in reading, language, math, art, music, science, geography, and social studies, all while engaging children with movement, touch, sound, and sight. Notably, the activities and lessons here include suggestions for tailoring the experience to different levels, making it a book children can grow with.

Making Sense of Sensory Information - For thousands of years, humans have asked if we perceive the world accurately through our senses. Because seeing is so important for our functioning in the world, efforts to understand how perceptions are generated have most often focused on vision. Based on current research in cognitive neuroscience, this film explores the challenge of explaining visual perception. (available only to Denver residents)

And here's one more idea - grab a copy of Brain Lab for Kids: 52 Mind-blowing Experiments, Models, and Activities to Explore Neuroscience by Eric H. Chudler and head off to one of DPL's ideaLABs to fuel curiosity and put experiments to the test!

Written by Dodie on May 7, 2019