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Who Is More Likely To Be a “Super Taster”?

based on 14 ratings
Author: Megan Doyle

Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science, Human Anatomy

Objective:

This experiment will evaluate whether people of a specific gender or age are more likely to have an elevated number of taste buds, allowing them to be able to taste a specific chemical that most others cannot.

Research Questions:

  • Is a specific gender more likely to include “super tasters?”
  • Are people in specific age groups more likely to be “super tasters?”

Some people have more taste buds compared to other people. There is a product available on the market that allows you to determine whether you have an elevated number of taste buds (a “super taster”). In this experiment, students will find “super tasters” and evaluate if they are more likely to be part of a certain gender or age group.

Materials:

  • Test subjects (approximately 200 people, including males and females in a variety of age groups)
  • PTC test strips
  • Notebook for recording and analyzing results

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Ask a test subject to place a PTC test strip on his or her tongue.
  2. Record the gender and age of the test subject.
  3. Ask the participant to rate the level of bitterness of the strip on a scale of 1 to 10.
  4. Repeat steps 1 to 3 with approximately 200 people.
  5. Analyze the data that you collect. Test subjects that rate the bitterness of the test strip at a 5 or above are likely “super tasters.” What percentage of your test subjects are super tasters? What percentage of male participants are “super tasters?” What percentage of female participants are “super tasters?” Is the percentage of “super tasters” higher within a certain gender or age group?

Terms/Concepts: PTC, phenylthiocarbamide, taste buds, super taster

Reference: PTC Paper Taste Test Strips

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