Ask an average fourth grader about a human being's largest organ, and you'll probably hear about the heart or brain. Wrong! Our largest single organ is actually our skin, which protects everything else in our body, and on which we depend for information about the world around us. How hot is that pot? How scratchy is that coat? Our skin's “sensate” abilities clue us in.
Here's a simple experiment that allows your child to make a simple version of a research tool called the “Von Frey Device” which scientists use to measure our skin's “detection threshold”—the smallest sensation necessary for the nerves in our skin to “feel” something.
What You Need:
- 5 popsicle sticks
- Sharpie pen
- Polyester fishing line in 5 different widths
- Volunteers willing to take a “touch test”