receptors in the mouth are also sensitive to chemicals,
like the nose. Our mouths have a variety of taste buds specifically
geared to certain tastes like sweet and sour. Some animals
have a lot more taste buds than we do and it makes us curious
about what we may be missing. Fish might taste completely
different for a bird than it does for a human just as the
world looks very different for insects than it does for
humans. Taste buds can be influenced by environmental factors
as well or can be temporary or permanently damaged. When
we have a cold or have burned our tongue on hot liquids,
for instance, our taste buds don't work as well as they
Your Taste Buds:
you stick your tongue out in front of a mirror, you may
notice a lot of bumps on it. These bumps are filled with
taste buds, about 9000 of them for humans. Taste buds can
help us recognize certain foods just by identifying four
basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.
these taste bud tests several times, in different orders
and both separately and in combination tests. Keep several
of your own diagrams of the tongue where you can record
the results of your experiments.
sugar on different areas of your tongue. What part of
the tongue tastes the sweetness of the sugar? Do you
only taste sweetness? What do you taste in other areas?
lemon juice on different areas of your tongue. What
part of the tongue tastes the sourness of the lemon
juice? Do you only taste sourness? What do you taste
in other areas?
salt on different areas of your tongue. What part of
the tongue tastes the saltiness of the salt? Do you
only taste saltiness? What do you taste in other areas?
tonic water on different areas of your tongue. What
part of the tongue tastes the bitterness of the tonic
water? Do you only taste bitterness? What do you taste
in other areas?
Your Sense of Smell & Taste:
a sample plate of snacks. Have everyone take turns tasting
them while wearing blindfolds and plugging the nose so that
you can neither see nor smell the food. Try and figure out
what you're tasting. Now try the experiment still with the
blindfold on, but don't plug your nose. Are the scores any
better? If you like you can try the experiment a third time
again with the blindfold on and your nose unplugged, but
this time rub some vanilla extract, peanut butter, or cinnamon
on your upper lip. How does this change the scores? What
other sense have you tested here? Depending on whether the
snacks are being fed to you, or you are picking them up
yourself, you may also be testing your sense of touch.
of the sample snacks to choose from include: