How do I conduct taste tests in the classroom?

what are some things i should consider before starting taste tests in the classroom?

  • Send a letter home to notify families that your classroom is starting Harvest of the Month taste tests.
  • Obtain a list of students with allergies and decide if there are students with safety concerns that need to be addressed prior to each tasting.
  • Create a safe tasting environment:
    • Prior to starting taste tests in the classroom, explain to the classroom that they will be tasting fruits and vegetables every month as a class.  Some might be familiar and some might be new.
    • Encourage all students to take two small bites before they decide they do not like it.
    • If a students does not like it, instruct them to politely discard the remaining produce in the napkin.
    • Discourage negative comments, such as ‘yuck’ or ‘gross’ but rather encourage students to describe why they don’t like it.  Ask questions such as “Is it bitter?” and “Is it bland?”  Everyone has different reactions to tasting new foods.

conducting the taste test

  • Organize the supplies needed to prepare a serving of each student.
  • Review the instructions on preparing the taste test.
  • If produce is received whole, show it to the class and lead a discussion about the color and size.  Share some fun facts from the educator newsletter.
  • While preparing the taste test, have your student watch the farmer/produce video.
  • Review What do I need to prepare the taste tests in the classroom for guidelines for handling food and equipment safely to prepare a serving for each student.
  • Pass out servings on a napkin/small plate and instruct the students to wait to taste their sample until they are told to start tasting.
  • Conduct a discussion with the students encouraging them to use their senses by asking the following questions (Use Adjectives to describe the produce using the five senses):
    1. How would you describe how it looks?
    2. What color is it? Does it have skin? Can you eat the skin?
    3. How does it feel? Is it hard? Is it cold? Is it squishy?
    4. How would you describe how it smells?
  • Direct the students to taste the sample and ask the following question: How would you describe the taste?
  • Do not send back any produce to the cafeteria.  Instead, ask if any students would like an additional serving.  If there is any left over, please discard accordingly.

how do i conduct the ‘rate the taste?’

  • Download the grade-specific Rate the Taste from the Harvest of the Month produce link.
  • Project the Rate the Taste on an overhead projector for a classroom discussion on the HOTM produce.
  • Fill in the name of the produce you are tasting today.
  • After tasting the produce, you will ask students to “Rate the Taste” by asking preference questions that can be answered by a show of hands.
  • Lead a positive discussion regarding student opinions on the different fruits and vegetables. Encourage all students to share their experiences with the taste tests.
  • The different grade level ‘Rate the Tastes’ include appropriate discussion topics. For example, 1st graders will be asked to complete the sentence on how the produce helps the body and 4th through 6th graders will be asked to discuss why the produce is good for me.

tips for successful classroom taste tests

  • Use a map to identify where the produce comes from, if this information is available.
  • Invite food service director or staff to cook the produce in the school kitchen and conduct the taste test there.
  • Invite a farmer to bring his or her local produce and discuss how it was grown.
  • Connect with cafeteria, garden, and parents.
  • Read stories related to fruits and vegetables.
  • Ask if students have had it before? Have you seen it in the cafeteria?
  • Use ‘Rate the Taste’ results to share with the cafeteria or discuss with school-site wellness committee.
  • Use the Educator Newsletter for ideas on how to tie the taste test to other subjects such as math or social studies.
  • Create tasting environment:  “Today we are going to use our senses with our eyes, nose, ears, and mouth…” Develop guidelines for trying new foods.

Have a positive attitude! Leading a Harvest of the Month classroom lesson is fun and simple. The students will ask for more!


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