Tasty Buds

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In this activity (1st activity on the page), learners explore their sense of taste and the structure of the tongue by taste-testing various foods. Learners dip toothpicks in various solutions of salty, sweet, bitter, and sour foods and lightly touch the toothpicks to different areas on their tongues. Learners investigate if parts of the tongue are more sensitive to specific flavors or if all parts are equally sensitive. Learners keep track of their findings on a tongue map and compare their notes with others.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Salt Taste: Salty water
  • Sugar Taste: Sugary water
  • Sour Taste: Lemon juice
  • Bitter Taste: Onion juice or tonic water
  • Toothpicks
  • Colored pencils and paper to draw tongue map
  • Cups for solutions and drinks of water
  • Water


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Taste
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • 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