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Taste vs Smell

Animals use their sense of smell to find their families, find food, spot danger or mark and identify territory. A good sense of taste can tell an animal whether food is safe to eat and start the digestive process. How do you know what you are eating? Using only your nose, try to recognize different foods. Then, use your taste buds. Keep track of how many you guessed right.

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Plan

  • Do you want to do this adventure indoors, outdoors or at camp?
  • What words do you use to describe taste? To describe smell?
  • What are some animals that have a strong sense of smell? A strong sense of taste?
  • What foods will you prepare for this adventure?

Do

  • Collect and prepare foods that smell and taste different.
  • Close your eyes and take turns smelling each food. What do you think it is?
  • Now, close your eyes, plug your nose and taste each food. What do you think it is?
  • Finally, taste each one with your eyes closed but without plugging your nose. What do you think it is?
  • Open your eyes and compare your guesses.

Review

  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • How many did you guess right with your nose? With your taste buds? With both?
  • How do you think your senses of taste and smell are connected?
  • What are some foods that smell the same? Taste the same?

Materials

  • Different foods cut into pieces, such as: peeled apples, pears and potatoes, or lemons, oranges and limes.
  • Small bowls

Keep it Simple

  • Try closing your eyes and tasting different foods that represent different tastes: something sweet, something salty, something savoury, something sour and something bitter. Can you identify the taste? Can you identify the food that you’re tasting?

Take it Further

  • Learn about why some things taste good to humans (like cake) while others do not taste good (like grass). Why do some things taste bad when we’re kids but good when we’re adults (like coffee)?