The Tongue...A Sense of Taste

Dores H. Cook Myra Bradwell School
7736 S. Burnham
Chicago, Il. 60649
(312) 535-6600


Students will be able to identify the four taste sensations: salty, sweet,
sour and bitter.
Students will be able to recognize the papillae or receptors on the tongue.
Students will be able to locate and label the different taste sense organs on
the tongue.

Materials needed:

This list is for a class of thirty first grade students.

1 cup of sugar 4 sticks or cotton swabs per student
1 cup of coffee 4 small cups per student
1 cup of salt 30 small hand mirrors
2 lemons 30 paper plates
15 stalks of celery 1 quart of lemon water
30 tongue diagrams 1 quart of sweet water
30 data tables 1 quart of salty water
1 quart of water-diluted coffee


1. Give each student a paper plate divided into five sections. On the plate
place the following items: a pinch of salt, a lemon wedge, a dash of sugar
and a dash of coffee. Have the students taste each item and identify each
item as being either salty, sour, sweet or bitter.
Distribute bite size pieces of celery, ask the students to chew the celery
thoroughly. (This will cleanse the mouth.)

2. Distribute a mirror to each student. Have them look at their tongue. Help
them identify the papillae (receptors) on the tongue.

3. Give each student a data table, four small cups, a piece of celery and four
sticks or cotton swabs. Pour 20 milliliters of the salty water in a cup, 20
milliliters of sweet water in a different cup etc., until each student has a
sample of each solution.
The cups should be labeled: A B C D or 1 2 3 4.
The student will dip one stick in solution A, touch the four locations on
the tongue as shown on the diagram on the chalkboard. The student will then
record his/her sensation at each location as either salty, sour, sweet or
bitter on a Data Table. The student will then cleanse his mouth using the
celery. This activity should be repeated for each solution.

4. Distribute a diagram of a tongue to each student and have him/her label the
areas of the tongue where the taste sensation is the greatest.
Return to Biology Index