Through the system:
Choosing food to eat is the first part in giving your digestive system work to do. You
are more likely to eat food if you enjoy the taste.
• Is it always easy or even possible to predict which food tastes sweet
or sour or salty by what it looks like?
• Do you tend to put salt or sugar on food BEFORE you taste it?
Look in the mirror and stick out your tongue. Horrible as this might be, do you see lots
of bumps? (on your tongue!) These bumps are called papillae and contain taste buds.
Taste buds have sensitive microscopic hairs which send messages to the brain about
how something tastes e.g. sweet, sour, bitter, salty.
Bits and pieces needed:
• small glasses or clean yoghurt pots,
• cotton buds
• ‘tasters’ - a variety of things to taste such as lemon juice (sour), salt (salty),
honey (sweet), coffee powder (bitter).
What to do:
• Put a sample of each ‘taster’ into a different container. Add some water to the
dry ingredients so that everything is the same consistency.
• Ask a friend to dip a cotton bud into one of the taster samples and dab it on
either the front, back or side of your tongue.
• Rinse your mouth with water and try the same sample again, but on a part of
your tongue you haven’t tried.
• Carry on until you have tried each sample in all three places (front, back or side)
on your tongue.
• Which part of your tongue found the taste the strongest?
• Draw an outline diagram of a tongue and record
your results on it. On the outline, identify where
the various flavours were best detected (front,
back or side).
• Carry on with each of the samples until your
chart is complete.
• Repeat the taste test with your friend –
remember to use different cotton buds to the
ones you used!
• Which part of your tongue was most sensitive to the sweet taste?
Sour? Bitter? Salty?
• Did you and your friends have the same result?
• What happens if you try a sweet and sour sauce?