User login

The Nose Knows!

Source Institutions

    American Chemical Society

Add to listGo to activity
The Nose Knows!

In this activity on page 9 of the PDF, learners test how flavoring extracts move through the walls of a balloon. Learners discover that the extracts' motion is similar to the way that oxygen and nutrients move through the walls of your capillaries. Learners discover that the walls of capillaries have holes that are too small to see.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per student)

  • 3 small rubber balloons (same size)
  • Permanent marking pen
  • 3 disposable plastic cups (3 oz.)
  • 3 droppers
  • 3 different flavoring extracts (vanilla, peppermint, and orange extracts work well)
  • Balloon pump (optional)
  • Blunt-end scissors for adult partner (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Human Body
      • Circulation
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Smell
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • smell
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Office of Community Activities, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2004