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Sensory testing of foods

What senses are involved in our experience of food?
This unit describes scientific ways of describing our experiences with food via sensory testing. See teacher background →

# Comparing food products

Students investigate four different brands of the same flavor dressing and determine how they are different.


Teacher background

Food is an important vehicle, not only for our survival, but for our enjoyment, our cultural traditions, our emotional well-being, and more. Think about how we experience food. We smell it sometimes long before seeing it. We see it when it is served to us, and we savor the taste of it as we experience the feel of it in our mouth, the flavor on our tongue, the experience of feeling it satiate our hunger pangs, and the comfort it can give even when we are not actually hungry.

Favorite flavors vary widely among people. Some people love lima beans, but the texture of the bean makes some others gag. Some like spicy foods, but others find anything with a “kick” too much and avoid them. This unit helps students scientifically categorize the sensory experiences we have with food.

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Created in partnership with the T. Marzetti Company.

Next gen science standards

Science and engineering practices

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Crosscutting concepts

  • Cause and effect
  • Structure and function

Disciplinary core ideas/content

  • LS1A Structure and Function
  • LS1C Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms