Kitchen STEAM Lab: Tasting Blind
Put your senses to the test! In this activity, kids will conduct a blind tasting of two samples of cheddar cheese. To make this taste test extra-scientific, try to get cheeses from the same brand and make sure that they are both mild or both sharp. (Yellow cheddar cheese is actually quite orange in color!)
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What You’ll Need
2 slices white cheddar cheese (about ½ ounce) per person
2 slices yellow cheddar cheese (about ½ ounce) per person
Science and Engineering Practices (Planning and Carrying Out Investigations):
In this activity, kids learn about the difference between yellow and white cheddar cheeses and how where you live in the United States might affect your cheddar color preferences (see the “Food for Thought” section at the end of the activity for a kid-friendly explanation).
Before starting the taste test, ask kids to make a prediction: Do they think the two cheeses will taste the same or different? Why do they think so? During the activity, remind them that good scientific researchers control the conditions of their experiments: None of their test subjects should know which cheese sample is which, so tasters should be blindfolded before being given their cheeses. Tasters should also keep their thoughts to themselves until everyone has finished tasting, so their opinions don’t influence others by accident! After everyone has tasted, have kids reveal which cheese is which, and discuss how they taste. Ask kids and tasters:
- Were their predictions correct?
- Was anyone surprised by the results?
- Which cheese was each person’s favorite to eat?
Take It Further
Social Studies (History and Geography):
Cheddar cheese is made from cow’s milk and has been around for more than 900 years! Today, it’s made in many countries around the world, but it was invented in a village called Cheddar in England, which is part of Great Britain. Ask kids whether they can find Great Britain, England, and the village Cheddar on a map.
Cheddar (the village), has natural caves where dairy farmers began aging cheeses as far back as the 12th century. Today, most cheeses are aged in climate-controlled rooms rather than caves, but one cheesemaker is still using the caves in Cheddar to make cheddar! Check out this video to see how their cheddar is made from start to finish, and to peek inside those cheese caves for yourself. For even more cheese science (and an interview with a real-life cheesemonger!), check out this episode of the ATK Kids podcast, Mystery Recipe!