About Marty The Mighty Nose
About Marty the Mighty Nose
Marty the Mighty Nose is a place for teachers, particularly those with pupils aged 7-11, to find easy, inspiring and engaging ideas on extending learning through the sense of smell.
We do this by inviting Key Stage Two classes to apply their noses, and brains, to a curriculum subject or topic. We offer ideas via this website on kick-starting lessons in various subjects, from history to science, using scent.
Marty is smell-finder-in-chief in a faraway world of jungle inhabitants who love anything with a stink. They use their noses to travel far and wide, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for a good strong pong.
Marty is the mascot for our main annual opportunity, The Mighty Nose Awards, which invites pupils to submit smell-inspired creative writing for the chance to win fantastic prizes for themselves and for their schools.
Marty the Mighty Nose is supported by a team of people including teachers, and developed by the Fragrance Foundation UK. We are a not-for-profit educational organisation and all our members are in the fragrance industry, supporting Marty as a philanthropic initiative.
But why smell? How does this important but overlooked sense relate to education?
In the UK, hundreds of adults still remember vividly their school trips to places like York's Jorvik Viking Centre, simply because the location had such a memorable smell (in the case of Jorvick, probably the tantalising aroma of horse-stables!).
Many pupils enjoy and welcome the hands-on, tactile learning opportunity offered by using their noses. You need only everyday objects to produce a lesson that they will remember for months.
But it's not just about having a memorable experience. Research on the role of the sense of smell in education has found that an aromatic stimulus can increase pupils' attention, enhance their memory and support cognitive learning. One recent study has found that among adults rosemary shows effectiveness in increasing performance in tasks set in the future (such as remembering to pass an object to someone at a particular time).
The sense of smell is particularly valuable to pupils with Special Educational Needs, who may respond well to multi-sensory learning methods, or to pupils with other sensory impairments. Some pupils can explore Ancient Egypt thorugh visual imagery; for others, it will be aroma which offers them a way to explore the subject matter.
EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION
There are no right or wrong answers in smell. Some people inhale a citrus aroma and are convinced it is lemon, some are sure it is lime! And when it comes to preference, two different pupils can have a different response to a smell ("That's disgusting" versus "That's delicious"). Inviting children to explore and compare their reactions and opinions, and understand others' individual preference, is a powerful tool for developing group discussion.
More widely, growing a child's sensory world is important. In delivering workshops with schools, we have been amazed at just how many seemingly everyday smells were new and exciting for children, such as grapefruit or ginger. Starting to incorporate this sense can provoke inclusive conversations about favourite foods at home through to cultural and religious traditions.
It is no mean feat to describe a smell. Plenty of adults - who use the written word in their professions - struggle to evoke the aroma of chocolate, without being able to say "Chocolatey". Perhaps as their bank of smells is more recent and less cemented into certain associations, children are often much freer in their use of language when describing a smell. For example, they can appropriate language from one of the other senses ("It's sharp", or "itâ's soft"), or will develop metaphor and smile ("it smells like my brother's sock," or "It is the smell of pure greed")