activity: taste vs smell

This activity highlights the role that our noses play in identifying different tastes!

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 paper bags
  • 1 marker
  • jelly beans in 3 different flavours

 

  1. Label the bags as follows:
    • #1
    • #2
    • #3
  2. Place several jelly beans of one flavour in bag #1. Place several jelly beans of another flavour in bag #2. Place several jelly beans of yet another flavour in bag #3.
  3. Duplicate the following table for the number of people you have participating:

 

 Taste OnlySmell OnlyTaste and Smell
#1   
#2   
#3   

 

  1. Taste Test: Closing their eyes and plugging their noses, get the participants to reach into bag #1 and taste a jelly bean. Have them guess what flavour it is and record it in the table. Repeat this for the other two flavours.
  2. Smell Test: Closing their eyes, get the participants to open bag #1 and smell the jelly beans. Have them guess what flavour it is and record it in the table. Repeat this for the other two flavours.
  3. Smell and Taste Test: Closing their eyes (but NOT plugging their noses), get the participants to reach into bag #1 and taste a jelly bean. Have them guess what flavour it is and record it in the table. Repeat this for the other two flavours.

 

Reflection:

Which method was the most accurate?

 

Our sense of smell helps us to taste our food! This is why food may taste blander when we have a cold and our nose is plugged up with mucous. Odour molecules travel from the food in our mouth to the back of the mouth and up the nasal passage to the nose. Here there are olfactory receptors that detect the presence of odour molecules. These receptors remember what the different scents are like. They then send a message to the brain to let the brain know what scent has been detected. Let’s say your nose receives odour molecules from a warm apple pie for the first time. Your eyes see the apple pie, your nose smells the apple pie. Your brain receives both of these signals and puts the two together. “Aha! This is what a warm apple pie smells like”. So the next time you walk into a room where a warm apple pie has just come out of the oven, you don’t even need to see the pie. When your nose detects the odour molecules, it sends a message to the brain that there’s a warm apple pie nearby!