Sent in by:
Whitney of Grain Valley, MO
Map out the uncharted territory...of your tongue!
- cotton swabs
- small cups or glasses
- unsweetened baking cocoa
- lemon juice
- pens and paper for charting
- Before you begin, ask a grown-up if it's okay to use different sweet, salty, sour and bitter foods for mapping where your tongue tastes what.
- Ask a friend to help. One of you will be the taster and the other will be the tester. When the first person is done tasting, you can switch so both of you will get a chance to taste.
- Put a little bit of each substance in a cup. Mix the non-liquids with some water so that all the substances have about the same consistency.
- Draw a chart for recording your results. Along the left side of the paper write each of the foods you will test in a separate row. The ZOOMers used unsweetened baking cocoa and water to test bitter, lemon juice to test sour, honey to test sweet, and saltwater to test salty. Across the top draw three columns for each taster. Label each with the taster's name and "front," "back," and "side."
- Make some predictions. Do you think different places on your tongue will taste different flavors more intensely? Where on your tongue do you think each flavor will taste strongest? Will some flavors be easier or harder to taste than others?
- Have the tester dip a cotton swab into one of the liquids and dab it either on the front, back or side of the taster's tongue.
- The taster tastes the liquid, then takes a sip of water. This helps clear your tongue of the taste so it doesn't interfere with the next part of the experiment.
- The tester then dips a new cotton swab in the same liquid and dabs it on a different part of the taster's tongue. The taster tastes the liquid again and sips some water. Now, try it again on the third part of the taster's tongue.
- Once all the parts of the tongue have tasted the liquid, the taster says which part of his tongue tasted the liquid the strongest. The tester records the taster's answer on the chart.
- Follow the same process for each of the different liquids. Then switch who tastes and who tests and do the whole taste test again with the new taster.
- When all tasters have finished testing, talk about your results. Were your predictions correct? Did some of your results surprise you? Did both tasters taste the same things on the same parts of your tongues? Whatever you discover, be sure to send your results to ZOOM!
Ready for a taste of the sci scoop? Our tongues have four basic types of taste buds: sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. These taste buds are on different parts of our tongues. That's why you taste the different liquids on different parts of your tongue. Most people taste sweet on the tips of their tongues, bitter on the back, sour on the sides, and salty near the front and sides. Were your results a little bit different like ours were? Where do you think you would taste something that's both sweet and sour, like sweet-n-sour sauce? How about something that's salty and sour, like pickle juice?
Missy, age 13 of Harvey, IL wrote:
it worked I was totally surprised I did not thinkn it was gonna work
Cohava, age 10 of L.A., CA wrote:
on the back of my tongue I tasted only sour but on the side I tasted sweet & salty. On the front I tasted sour & bitter. it was realy fun!
Katia, age 12 of Mercer County, NJ wrote:
cocoa powder was the strongest on the back, lemon juice on the side, honey on the front and the salt on the side.
Amaris, age 9 of Grand Prairie, TX wrote:
it turnes out when my friend took it to class they had different taste areas.
Grace of Jackson, MI wrote:
The results turned out totoally different... everyone in my family tasted better on different areas on the tongue than the chart plotted.
Megan, age 11 of Clarks Summit, PA wrote:
On my mom, dad, and I the results were almost exactly the same as they're supposed to be. My sister on the other hand tasted sweet-back, bitter- front, salty-right, and sour- left!!!
Emma, age 14 of Mesa, AZ wrote:
it tasted sweet on tip of the tongue.
Madison, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the salt. the most intense was the front to me. the class result was the back. I also did the honey. the most intense was the back. the classes result was the middle.
Michael, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
well I did the honey and the lemon and the lemon tasten more entence on the back of the tongue and my class agreed -- the honey I thought was the most intence in the back of the tongue but over all my class thought it was the middle
Kimberly, age 12 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I tasted the lemon juice and the coco. I thought that the coco was gross so I just tried it in the front. With the lemon I tasted I the most in the middle.
Xena, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
when I tasted salt the storest was the back and my class thoughtit was storest in the backand when I tasted the honey it was storest in the middle and my class thought it was storest in the middle
Joceline, age 11 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the lemon and cocoa it tasted really wierd but it's cool. My classmates results were that the taste was more in the front but for me it was in the middle.
Owen, age 10 of Suprise, AZ wrote:
For the lemon It was worst in the front. Then I did the honey it was funny taste in middle.
Kody, age 10 of Suprise, AZ wrote:
I did the lemon and coco on the lemon the back was the most intence my class thought so to. On the coco the frount was the most intence my class thought so to have a nice day.
Danny, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
Well I did the salt water and the coco. I thought that the middle for salt water was 1. the class thought it was a a 7. The coco for me was 3. the class thought it was a 5.
Maria, age 11 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
When I did the lemond and coco it tased nasty but had to do it. My classmates results were, for the coco was in the middel. Asfor the coco was in the front.
Hayden, age 10 of Suprise, AZ wrote:
I did the lemon & cocoa I thought the lemon was most intense in the middle of my toungue but my class thought the back was the most intense I thought the cocoa was most intense in the front but my class thought it most intense in the front
Ryan, age 10 of Suprise, AZ wrote:
It is dsgusting I tasted saocte and the colcelet isaot the saocte it was in the back and the colcelet it was ever.
Jacob, age 10 of Suprise, AZ wrote:
I did the honey and the salt. I thought the honey was most intense on the back of the tongue. The class thought it was most intense in the middle of the tongue. I also thought the salt was most intense in the back of my tongue and so did the class.
Wendy, age 11 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I thought that the flavors of the lemon and the coco tasted most intense at the tip of the tongue but my class thought that the lemon tasted most intense in the back and the coco at the front of the tongue.
Chris, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
When I tasted the salt it was the most intense in the middle of my tongue. It was also the most intense in the middle with the honey. My class's results for the honey was most intense in the middle. For the salt it was most intense in the back.
Haylee, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the lemon and honey. The lemon was the most sour on my back of my tongue. I felt the most honey on the middle of my tounge. The class thought the lemon was the sourest in the back. The class felt the most in the back.
Jd, age 12 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the honey & salt. My resuits were for the honey was the middle it tased stronger. The salt was in the back it tased stonger.
Adriana, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the huney and the lemon. In the back of my tongue both of them tasted the most. But my class thought that honey in the middle was the most. And they also thought lemon in the back tasted the most.
Tessa, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the lemon and the cocoa. They made me almost puke when I put the cotton swab on the back of my mouth. on the cocoa the front was the part that I tasted the most then the back then the middle. On the cocoa the part I tasted the most was the front then the middle then the back. The class thought that the back was the most then the middle then the front on the lemon, but the class thought on the cocoa the front then the back then the middle. I thought it was fun!
Amanda, age 10 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I did the salt my results are front was kinda sour the middle wasnt sour and the back was sour. And I did the cocoa and my results for that the front, middle and back I didnt taste anything. Results for my hole class is the most of salt is the back and the cocoa was the front
Kurtis, age 11 of Surprise, AZ wrote:
I tasted the honey and the salt. I tasted the honey middle and the class tasted the honey in the tip. I tasted the salt in the middle and the tasted salte in the tip.
Erin, age 11 of Mt. Horeb, WI wrote:
I mostly tasted them everywhere.
ZOOM Fan, age 16 of Jackson, IL wrote:
I could taste them all.