Our Senses

Take the Taste Challenge!

  • Time Length
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    < 1 hour

  • Mess Level
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    A Little Messy

  • Cost

    Materials or Fees

  • Difficulty
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    intermediate

Question and Wonder:

  • Does all food taste differently? Why?
  • Do you think everyone likes the same food as you do?
  • Why do we like the taste of some foods but not all food?

Imagine and Design:

  • Look in a mirror at your tongue. What are those bumps on your tongue?
  • What are they for?
  • Do you think it will be easy or hard to tell what you are eating?
  • How do you think not seeing the food will change how it tastes? Will it change?

Put the blindfold on and let someone feed you a small piece of food. Keep a tally of what food you were able to guess right and which ones you could not guess.

Test and Discuss:

  • Did you have to taste the food longer to tell what it was?
  • Did any of the foods taste differently than you thought they would?
  • Which foods did you guess right?
  • What are some of the tastes you experienced? Were there any different textures?
  • Did your sense of taste and smell get better with the blindfold on?

Did you Know?

Your tongue has special parts that pick up flavor, bundled together as taste buds. They help you taste different flavors, like sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and a special one called “umami” which some people say is a bit like a mix of all the others put together.

The taste buds pick up clues about how a food tastes and sends messages about it to your brain along special wires called nerves.

Try this experiment: if you lick a piece of sliced apple, how does it taste? Now drink some water to wash away the flavor, and take a bite of the apple and chew it up. When you cut an apple, only some flavor is released. But if you chew it into smaller pieces, more flavor can escape into your mouth.

Extension Activity: Do the same activity as before, but now hold your nose while you taste the foods. How did that change the way food tasted? Why do you think that?

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