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No Saliva, No Taste?

Source Institutions

    University of Washington

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No Saliva, No Taste?

In this activity (4th activity on the page), learners test to see if saliva is necessary for food to have taste. Learners dry their tongues with clean paper towels and then taste samples of salt, sugar, crackers, or other dry foods. Use this activity for any lesson on the senses, particularly taste, as well how saliva breaks down chemicals in food.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Food items - sugar, salt, crackers and other dry foods
  • Clean paper towels
  • Water (for rinsing in between tests)


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
      • Digestion
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Taste
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Science Festivals Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Chudler, Ph.D., Eric H.


  • All Rights Reserved, Eric H. Chudler, ©2009


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