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Peppermint smell test

Does Smell Affect Taste?

Contributed by Brandy Nelson

Have you ever had a cold and noticed that you weren’t able to detect a flavor in all of the foods you ate? That some foods may have tasted different or bland? This is because your sense of smell is closely connected to your sense of taste.

Blindfolded Smell Test

Here is fun (and tasty) experiment to try to see what factors affect the sense of taste! We have 3 obstacles here to make it interesting: a blindfold, a plugged nose, and another scent to distract.

You can dice up small pieces of fruit or foods in a variety of flavors. If you placed a piece of banana in your mouth, you’d probably be able to figure out what it was even if you couldn’t taste it. So we chose to use candy for a uniform size, shape, and texture.

Supplies

Smell Test Supplies

Candy, in a variety of flavors

Blindfold

Cotton balls

Essential oil, or scented oil

Small cups

Pencils

Printable results page

Start by having each child write down the flavors they will be sampling. You will record the rest of the results from here on out since they will be blindfolded and you don’t want them to see what flavor they just tried.

Printable results page

The Blindfold Test

Taste Testing Candy

Give each child one flavor of candy and see if they can figure out which one it is! Next, write down their results. Repeat for remaining flavors.

This gave mixed results. Some of the flavors (lemon and orange) tasted similar and were hard to figure out without the sense of sight, but overall they did a good job at figuring them out. They said that all of them had a strong flavor.

The Plugged Nose Test

Repeat test, but have each child plug their nose while eating. Record their results. In the previous round, every candy had a strong flavor.

In this round, they concluded that many did not seem to have a flavor at all.

Plugged nose test

Adding Another Scent Test

Peppermint smell test

Add a few drops of scented oil onto a cotton ball and place in a small cup so that the oil doesn’t get on the kids’ fingers. We used peppermint. Repeat test, having the child hold the cup under his/her nose, and record the results.

This round, BY FAR, was their least favorite.

“Everything tastes like peppermint!”


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