Taste Testers

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Biology In Elementary Schools is a Saint Michael's College student project from a course that ran between 2007 and 2010 and fully described in this book chapter. The student-created resources have been preserved here for posterity. Link under 'toolbox' for printer-friendly versions of the exercises. Click on handouts to print full resolution versions. Please see Wikieducator's disclaimer, our safety statement, and the Creative Commons licensing in English and in legalese.

Program title

Student worthiness

Brand New and Untested(to our class)

Primary biological content area covered

Students will discover the amazing sense of taste and how it relates to the human body.


Teacher Use

  • Prepared Worksheets
  • Handout of tongue
  • Large Bar Graph

Student Group Use

  • Vanilla Extract
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Water
  • Dixie Cups

Individual Student Use

  • One Dixie cup with each ingredient(one of each)
  • Small spoon or tongue depressor
  • Pencil
  • Worksheet


If there are simple written instructions that students would use during this activity they should be placed here and they can be cut and pasted into a word processing document for printing. If there are mechanisms within this web format to upload more complex documents with diagrams, we will learn as we go.

Description of activity

Each student will taste the four different tastes (salty, bitter, sweet, sour) and what substance that taste is associated with. He or she will also be able to make lemonade out of three simple ingredients. They will have a greater understanding of why we enjoy the foods we do.

Lesson plan

An ordered account of how the lesson might proceed. It is worth recognizing that some flexibility is useful in lesson plans, but at the same time having a structure and direction provides some organization and structure that your students will appreciate. A bullet list may be the best format for some projects, but a few paragraphs may work just as well. Build in enough time for students to clean up after themselves and restock the program box for future students. Keep in mind that teachers are very busy, and a student clean up policy is essential for sanity.

Potential pitfalls

  • students may have allergies to the foods, this should be checked before the experiment is preformed.

Math connections

  • Questions number 6,7 and 9 can all be adapted to a bar graph. Each student can contribute the the graph by adding his or her sticker to the appropriate category. The results can be tabulated and analyzed by the class.

Literature connections

What children's literature interfaces with the activity you have described. Are there specific library materials that you should have on hand to tie this idea into the broader curriculum?

VT Standard: Scientific Inquiry GLE: S(3-4):2: Students demonstrate their understanding of the scientific method by predicting and hypothesizing.GLE: S(3-4):4: Students demonstrate their ability to represent data collected in a graph format; following a detailed plan of investigation; recording data and observations during the experiment; labeling and identifying parts of a diagram. GLE: S(3-4):5:Students demonstrate their ability to represent data by organizing a collection of data into a table or a graph template. Human Body GLE: S(3-4):41: Students demonstrate their understanding by showing how external body structures help them survive; relating the external to the internal body structures.

Next steps

Once you have completed the activity, what other information can be gleaned from the materials and resources at hand? What additional activities could be developed using the equipment and materials you have listed above? What other opportunities to learn can be explored based on student questions and input?

Citations and links

We adapted the lesson plan and the idea from [1] Vermont Educational Standards and Grade Level Expectations can be found [2]

Road Works.svg Work in progress, expect frequent changes. Help and feedback is welcome. See discussion page. Road Works.svg