Irchester news: Tasting Citizen Science at parents evening

On Tuesday 28th February and the 1st of March at parent evening, Lab_ 13 ran a little stall doing experiments to do with taste: we were inspired by the BBC Terrific Scientific supertasters experiment.

For the first experiment we showed pupils and parents 3 different colour drinks:  red, orange and green. We asked them to taste all 3 and write down what flavour they thought each drink was. We got 38 people to try this experiment!

For the red drink, 37% thought it was a red fruit flavour, 10 people said strawberry. For the orange drink, 47% thought it was an orange fruit flavour, 15 people said orange. For the green drink, 58% thought it was a green fruit flavour, 11 people said apple and 12 people said lime.

The interesting bit is that we managed to trick almost everyone! All three drinks were actually lemonade! Our experiment was to see if what people tasted would depend on the colour. Our experiment has shown that colour does have an big effect: about half of the people thought each drink was a flavour that matched the colour, and only 5 people though all three drinks tasted exactly the same, and none of them said it tasted of lemonade!


Some of the people who were completely fooled by the colours.

We found out that the green drink seemed to trick the most people, but maybe that is because lemon flavour is quite close to lime flavour.

We also tried the experiment with summer fruits flavour instead of lemonade, but this did not work as well. This is probably because the real flavour was stronger than for lemonade, so it was harder for people to imagine the colour flavour.


The other experiment we did used blue food dye colour to see if you are a taster, non-taster or super taster. Firstly, we asked the grownups and the children taking part if they wanted us to paint their tongue blue, or to do it themselves. Then they had to wait 1 minute with their blue tongue sticking out. This was a bit funny, because some people dribbled and they had silly expressions on their faces. Also, it was their only chance to stick their tongues out at people without being rude!

After 1 minute, we counted how many pink taste buds were on their tongue inside the space of a hole punched in a piece of card. If it is between 0 and 5 you are a non-taster, if it is between 6 and 10 you are a taster and if you have 11+ then you are a super-taster. Of the adults and children we tested, 25% were non tasters, 42% were tasters, and 33% were supertasters. The fewest taste buds someone had was 2, and the most was 21! Supertasters should be able to taste bitter things more strongly, so are less likely to like bitter things like Brussel sprouts and coffee.

By Ty and Jamie, Yr 5

About lab13network

Lab_13 is a space in a school managed by pupils for pupils to conduct their own research and experiments driven by their curiosity, imagination and enthusiasm, and under the watchful supervision of a Scientist in Residence (not a teacher!!).
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