L> Neuroscience for Kids SAFETY RULES!!Taste only those items that you are directed to taste. Clean up anything that spills.Do not share food items or utensils with others.Be aware of any food allergies that some people may have.

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Taste (Gustation)
Tasty BudsFor grades 3-12 The taste buds on the tongue are, of course, important for the flavor offood. See if different parts of the tongue are most sensitive todifferent characteristics of food (i.e., salty, bitter, sour, sweet). Get examples of each of these tastes (for example, salty water, sugarywater, vinegar or lemon for sour and onion juice for bitter). Give eachperson a set of solutions and some toothpicks. Dip the toothpicks intothe solutions and lightly touch the tongue. Repeat the tests ondifferent portions of the tongue. It may help to drink a bit of water inbetween tests. Also be careful in testing the back part of thetongue...some people may gag! Are parts of the tongue moresensitive to specific flavors or are all parts of the tongue equally sensitive to the flavors? If so, indicate on a drawing of the tongue the areas that are most sensitive to the different tastes. Compare tongue drawings with tongue drawings from other people. Materials: Salt Taste: Salty water Sugar Taste: Sugarywater Sour Taste: Lemon juice Bitter Taste: Onion juice or tonicwater Toothpicks Colored pencils and paper to draw tongue map
The Nose KnowsFor grades K-6 The nose is responsible for part of the flavor of food. To demonstratethis, blindfold a person and have that person hold their nose. Give themsomething to taste such as an pear or apple slice. Can they tell thedifference between the pear and the apple? Try to distinguish the pearslice from the apple slice. Other good comparison items are baby foods: they come in a variety of fruit and vegetable flavors. A testfood most kids like is the jelly bean. Buy several flavorsof jelly beans and have everyone try to guess the flavor (with and withoutthe use of their nose). The advantage of using the baby foods and jellybeans is that they are have the same texture. Therefore, the blindfoldedperson will not be able to use touch information to distinguish thedifferent items. Materials: Foods totaste: fruit or vegetable slices, baby food, jelly beans Blindfold
Taste Match GameFor grades K-3Can you put different foods into sweet, bitter, sour or salty groups? Gather up 3-4 different foods that fit into those 4 categories of taste. If you can"t find any "real" food, you can cut out pictures from magazines, but you won"t get a chance to taste it. Taste one of the items and record whether it tastes sweet, bitter, sour or salty. After you have tried all the food, compare your results with the rest of the class. Does everyone agree?Materials:Food itemsPencil and paper to record the results
No Saliva, No Taste?For grades 3-12In order for food to have taste, chemicals from the food must first dissolve in saliva. Once dissolved, the chemicals can be detected by receptors on taste buds. Therefore, if there is no saliva, you should not be able to taste anything. To test this theory, dry your tongue with a clean paper towel. Once your tongue is dry, try tasting a few samples of salt, sugar or other dry foods. Rinse your mouth and dry your tongue after each test.Materials:Food items - sugar, salt, crackers and other dry foodClean paper towelsWater (for rinsing in between tests)
Tasty VisionsExperiment #1For grades 3-12Does what you see influence what you taste? Find out here. Get four different flavored sodas (fruity ones such as lemon, grape, cherry, etc.). These sodas should also be different colors. Also get one unflavored, clear soda (such as, club soda or seltzer water). Add a few drops of food coloring to the unflavored, clear soda (orange works well). This will make it LOOK like orange soda, but of course, it will NOT have any taste. Pour the five drinks into different cups for taste testers. Ask people to tell you what each drink tastes like. How many people said your unflavored drink was "Orange"?Food companies add color to food to influence what it tastes like. People like to see foods in colors that they expect.Materials:4 different flavored sodas, 1 unflavored, clear sodaCupsFood ColorExperiment #2For grades 3-12In this experiment, use jelly beans instead of soda. For each subject youtest, you will need pairs of jelly beans. For example, get2 cherry jelly beans, 2 lime jelly beans, 2 lemon jelly beans and 2 orangejelly beans. Each jelly bean flavor has its own unique color: red forcherry, green for lime, yellow for lemon and orange for orange. Dividethe jelly beans into two groups: each group should have one of eachflavor. Label small containers or napkins with the numbers 1 through 4. Place thejelly beans from the first group into a container or on a napkin - onejelly bean into each container or on each napkin. Wrap the jellybeans in the second group in foil or place them in a cup so that your subjects cannot see them. Label these cups with the numbers 1 through4. Make sure that the flavors of the second group have different numbersthan the flavors in the first group.Now you are ready to start the experiment. If you want, you can tell yoursubject the names of the flavors that they will be tested. In otherwords, you can say, "The jelly beans you taste will be either cherry,orange, lime or lemon." Tell your subject to look at the jelly bean incontainer #1 of the first group and then taste the jelly bean. After theyhave tasted the jelly bean, tell your subject to write down its flavor. Do the same thing with jelly beans #2-#4.The next part of the experiment is a bit more difficult. You must keepthe color of the jelly beans in group 2 hidden from your subjects. Youcan blindfold your subjects or have them close their eyes while they tastethe jelly beans. Keep track of the flavors that your subjects say eachjelly bean tastes like. You can even tell your subjects that the flavorsthey will taste will be the same as before.

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What are the results? Did you subjects make anymistakes when they could not see the color of the jelly bean? If theydid, what was the most common mistake? What would happen if you used anunusual flavor? What would happen if you found a jelly bean with anabnormal color...for example a red-colored lemon-flavor jelly bean?Materials:At least 4 different flavored jelly beans (two of each flavor foreach subject)Cups or napkinsPen (to label cups and napkins)Summary of published experiments on the influenceof sight on the taste of drinks and food.
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