Sensory figures, also known as body biographies, are great for characterization or biography projects and helping students analyze people or characters from multiple angles. Read more about how sensory figures can enhance your lessons below! If you’re looking for a digital version of this resource, find it here.
*New* Download a free example sensory figure here!
⭐ Theodore Roosevelt Sensory Figure Example
These sensory figures can be printed in black and white or color, and the set includes a diverse collection of 27 people who have played various roles in American history.
The set includes the following people:
1. Abraham Lincoln
2. Alexander Hamilton
3. Amelia Earhart
4. Babe Ruth
5. Barack Obama
6. Benjamin Franklin
7. Cesar Chavez
8. Eleanor Roosevelt
9. Franklin D. Roosevelt
10. Fred Korematsu
11. Frederick Douglass
12. George Washington
13. Harriet Tubman
14. Helen Keller
15. Jackie Robinson
16. John F. Kennedy
17. Johnny Appleseed
18. Martin Luther King Jr.
19. Neil Armstrong
20. Rosa Parks
21. Ruby Bridges
23. Sally Ride
25. Susan B. Anthony
26. Thomas Jefferson
27. Thurgood Marshall
A sensory figure is a drawing of a historical, living, or fictional figure with first-person descriptions of what they might have thought, seen, heard, touched, said, felt, or otherwise experienced during their lifetime. Students “show what they know” about the figure by writing 1-2 sentence descriptions for their figure’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. After writing the descriptions, students connect them to the part of the body to which it most closely relates. For example, a feeling might be connected to the heart. The descriptions should be specific to the historical figure’s life, not generic statements that could apply to anyone. Students should be encouraged to address several topics in their descriptions instead of repeating information.
Sensory figures are an engaging way for students to both organize information as they’re learning and demonstrate their knowledge. They can be used to research the figure in a biography project or even as an assessment after other learning opportunities have taken place. Sensory figures allow students to imagine themselves in their figure’s shoes, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of their figure’s experiences. In addition to focusing on specific people, sensory figures can also be used with groups of people (for example, Confederate soldiers or Loyalists) to define the characteristics that separate them from other groups. Because of their interactive nature, sensory figures are great for interactive notebooks! Finally, they are readily adapted in order to meet a variety of student needs. You can give all students the same figure to fill out, or you can have them complete different ones. I’ve found that students enjoy sharing their figures with partners or doing a gallery walk to see their classmates’ work. You can reinforce vocabulary associated with the figures by providing a word bank of terms students should use in their descriptions.
You may also be interested in other sensory figures:
⭐ Athletes and Sports Sensory Figures
⭐ Black Historical Sensory Figures
⭐ Early Peoples and Ancient Civilizations Sensory Figures Bundle
⭐ Scientists and Inventors Sensory Figures
⭐ Women in History Sensory Figures
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