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In this excellent taste bud lesson, students predict, sample, describe, identify and chart bitter, sweet, sour, and salty Jelly Bellies.




2, 3  

Title – Terrific Taste Buds using Jelly Bellies!

By – Melissa Lambert, KyleAnne McCumber, Shelly Bong

Primary Subject – Science

Grade Level – 2-3

7-10 students

Time: 50 minutes

Brief Summary: This lesson will involve students sampling food from the four taste categories: bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. The students will be predicting, describing, and identifying specific tastes. The students will investigate and locate the various taste regions on the tongue.

Key Generalizations:

  • Taste is one of the five important senses that help us to select and enjoy food.
  • There are four familiar tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, and salty.
  • Our taste buds enable us to taste foods.


  • Humans are equipped with senses that ensure safety and survival.
  • Taste is an important sense as it prevents consumption of inappropriate food sources.


  • Students will be able to differentiate between the four basic tastes of the tongue.
  • Students will be able to record their favorite likes and dislikes.
  • Students will be able to communicate that taste buds are not uniformly distributed over the tongue, but have distinct locations.
  • The students will be able to make predictions, experiment, analyze data, and accurately communicate their findings.

    Rationale: It is valuable for students to develop an understanding of taste and taste buds because they are one of the five senses that humans depend on for safety and survival.

    Standards Addressed:

    National Science Education Standards- Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry

  • Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry
  • Students should be able to ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.
  • Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
  • Use date to construct a reasonable explanation.
  • Communicate investigations and explanations.

    Wisconsin Model Academic Standards- Content Standard C: Science Inquiry

  • Performance Standards
  • C.4.2- Use the science content being learned to ask questions, plan investigations, make predictions, and offer explanations.
  • C.4.5- Use the data they have collected to develop explanations and answer questions generated by investigations.
  • C.4.6- Communicate the results of the investigations in ways their audience will understand by using charts, graphs, drawings, written descriptions, and various other means, to display their answers.

    Prerequisite Skills/Knowledge/Values:

  • The students should be able to read and write
  • The students should be able to sort colors

    Adaptations Necessary for Special Needs Students:

  • The teacher should provide one on one support for students having difficulty retaining concepts discussed.
  • The teacher should have sugar-free jelly bellies for diabetics or students on a low sugar diet.

    Materials Needed:

  • Book titled,

    Gregory, the Terrible Eater

    by Mitchell Sharmat
  • Tongue Poster board diagram
  • 3 Taste bud diagrams for groups
  • 12 Taste Skill sheets
  • 12 Taste Word Search sheets (optional)
  • 12 Individual Jelly Belly bags with “mystery” beans
  • 12 Jelly Belly Prediction and Results sheets.
  • 3 Boxes of crayons
  • Pencils
  • 12 Reward Stickers and Jelly Belly gift bags

    Teaching Procedures:

  • Introduction: Start out by reading

    Gregory the Terrible Eater

    by Mitchell Sharmat. Discuss the book and why Gregory disliked some foods while loved others. Explain to the children the concept of taste and taste buds. Stress that taste buds besides giving humans pleasure when things taste good, are also things that keep us from eating foods that are harmful for us.
  • Explain the four different tastes accompanied by the “tongue diagram.” Discuss some foods that have those certain tastes.
  • Discuss the steps taken by scientists in experimenting: Asking questions, making predictions, testing, and making decisions. Explain to the students that they will be “taste-testing” scientists today!
  • Activity: The students after washing their hands will be given a Jelly Belly bag with a number on it. (Either 1, 2, or 3) The students will go to their corresponding science station.
  • Each station will have a small taste diagram with a labeled tongue: sweet, bitter, sour, and salty. The students will be led by the teacher to select a jellybean from their bags. The teacher will give color clues as to which jellybean to pick.
  • The students will predict the flavor of the jellybean and write it on their prediction and results sheet.
  • The students and teacher will all sample the same jellybean and record the results. The students will write what the flavor is and indicate like or dislike by writing a smiley face or a frowning face. In the last column of the sheet, the students will record whether this might be one of their favorite flavors. The teacher will ask what region of the tongue that this flavor was tasted.
  • The students and teacher continue until all twelve jellybeans are recorded.
  • Conclusion: The students decide which flavor was their favorite and communicate findings to the class. The students will each, one by one, draw a slip of paper from a box. On this sheet of paper is a certain food. The student will communicate what taste this food has and point to the region on the tongue that these taste buds are located. They will use the poster board tongue diagram in front of the room. Once this is completed they will get their reward sticker and Jelly Belly gift bag.
  • Assessment: The teacher will observe the students effort during the:
  • Introduction discussion
  • Group Experiment Activity
  • Conclusion Activity
  • By this time, it will have become evident if the student has not retained the concept of taste buds, their locations, and their purpose.


    Melissa Lambert


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