You Have Great Taste!-Exploring Our Sense of Taste

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Students will be able to describe what their sense of taste is and the body structure associated with it by classifying foods by taste.

Big Idea

Observation is such an important part of science work. This lesson helps students better understand what their sense of taste is, preparing them for using it as part of their science observation skills.


5 minutes

This lesson is a follow-up to the inquiry based lesson, Using Our Sense of Taste.  In this lesson, the students' understanding of this sense will be expanded.

I keep the structure of the second lesson for this sense similar to the others.  Kindergarteners rely on predictability and it makes it much easier for them to focus on content when they know what is going to happen next.  The best advice I have ever received in regards to teaching kindergarten is to follow routines and keep things predictable whenever possible.  It really does work!

I like to begin each of my Five Senses lessons with a YouTube video song.  The songs do a great job of reinforcing the different senses and the organs responsible for both.  Today, we are starting our lesson with Dr. Jean's Five Senses song:

After the song, the students gather around my chair for a story.


15 minutes

For this part of the lesson, you will need the chart paper from the previous lesson with what the students know about their sense of taste.  You will also need an introductory book on the five senses.  I like to use the book Tasting by Rebecca Rissman.  It is a basic book about the sense of taste.  It does a great job of helping students understand that taste is one of our five senses and it includes a simple explanation of how our sense of taste works.  It is also a quick read, holding the students' attention and is available in Spanish as well.  It can be purchased through many bookstores, including Amazon.

I begin the lesson by reviewing the information from the chart paper that was recorded during the previous lesson.  I tell them that they will soon be able to add more information to the chart paper after we read our  book.  

I explain to them that it is an expository or non-fiction text and that it gives us information that is true before I begin to read the story to the students. This book does a great job of helping students understand that our tongue is a structure that we need for survival.  It's function of identifying different tastes helps us survive by identifying potential threats, food that is spoiled, etc.  Structure and function are cross-cutting science concepts that students will be exposed to throughout their science studies.  This is a great introduction.  Don't be afraid to use the words "structure" and "function".  This early exposure will help build a foundation for future learning. 

 When we are done reading,we move over to the Smartboard to expand our learning about our sense of taste.

Guided Practice

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SmartBoard.  If you have a SmartBoard, the file Taste Sort for Smartboard can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a PDF of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson.  Click here to access them:  Taste Sort for Smartboard PDF of Slides.

I gather my students in front of the Smartboard.  I have cards with each student's name printed on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.  This helps me spread response opportunities across my entire classroom and eliminates any unintentional bias.

Each slide has a different type of taste that our tongues recognize.  I say to the students, We are going to sort foods by their taste.  We are going to start by looking for foods that are salty.  If I call your name, you will come up and move a food into the box that is salty. 

Students go up to the board and move foods that are salty into the box.  When they are done, I say each food and point to it on the board to help the students establish a better understanding as to what kind of foods taste salty.  We continue through the slides, going through the different types of taste.  Umami can be eliminated if you do not want to cover this sense of taste. 

This lesson might be a bit challenging because not all of students will have experience with all of the foods.  They will need to draw on the experiences of their classmates. 

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

20 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, you will need the It Tastes Good Student Book included as a PDF with this lesson.  I run the book with a red cover and then I staple the book in the corner of the mouth and cut around the mouth with a scissors.  This make the book "mouth shaped".  Click here for a picture of the book****. The students will also each need some pink construction paper that can be cut into the shape of a tongue and glued on the appropriate page. The students will need crayons, scissors and a glue stick to complete the book.

I distribute the books to the students and have them write their name on the front cover.  I then say to the students, We are going to make a book about our sense of taste that you can take home and share with your family.  Each page has a different kind of taste.  The first page says "I can taste salty."  You need to draw something that tastes salty.  You might want to draw a picture of a pretzel, a pickle or chips.  If you are not sure what to draw, ask a neighbor to help you out.  If you still can't think of something, raise your hand and I will help you out.

If you don't know what it says on the page, ask a neighbor or raise your hand.  This page (turn to page) says, I taste with my tongue.  For this page, you are going to cut out a pink tongue from the construction paper and glue it on the page.  On the last page, you are going to draw a picture of what you like to eat best.  I want you to try writing what you like best on the blank.  Do your best to sound the word out. 

The students begin working and I circulate around the room to help them.  This project takes a lot of patience on the part of the teacher, especially early in the school year, but I think it is important to give the students an open ended project to show what they know.  The students' work shows different levels of drawing and coloring skill (see Student Work Sample 1 and Student Work Sample 2, but overall the students were able to express their understanding of the different kinds of taste. 

When the students are done, we gather together as a class and the students add more information to the "taste" chart paper.  They are now able to add many more ideas as their understanding about taste has grown.