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Apples and Potatoes (page 2)

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Author: Alexa Bach McElrone

Experimental Procedure

  1. Select one potato and one apple. Peel each and cut into small, similar-sized pieces (one or two bites each).
  2. Place the potato pieces in one bowl and the apple pieces in a second bowl.
  3. Recruit a volunteer who can assist you in your experiment for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. With your eyes closed and nose pinched shut, ask the volunteer to hand you one piece of apple or potato without telling you which he/she chose. (Make sure they know what they are handing you and write it down.)
  5. First, touch the piece of food to several places on your tongue to see if it tastes different and explain what you taste to your volunteer. Ask the volunteer to take notes on your observations.
  6. Then, chew the piece of food and notice what it tastes like. Explain the taste to your volunteer as they take notes.
  7. Make your best guess as to whether item #1 was an apple or potato.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 with a second item. Make sure the volunteer selects one piece of apple and one piece of potato.
  9. Keeping your eyes closed, repeat steps 4-8 above without pinching your nose shut. Observe any differences in taste and make your best guess at identifying if item #1 or item #2 is an apple or potato. Again, ask your volunteer to take notes.
  10. If presenting this project at a science fair it may be fun to have bowls and toothpicks of pre-diced apples and potatoes for visitors to experiment with.  

Bibliography

Children’s University of Manchester http://www.childrensuniversity.manchester.ac.uk/interactives/science/brainandsenses/taste.asp 

St. Louis Children’s Hospital http://www.stlouischildrens.org/content/greystone_809.htm

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