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Getting into science

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Dec 01/06) - If you've ever had any nagging questions about some of life's little mysteries - like how trusting volunteers are - the answers could be found at the Bompas elementary school science fair.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Budding scientist Morgan Lirette holds her first place ribbon in front of her display at the Bompas elementary school science fair. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

Students from all classes had their science discoveries on display for the community to marvel at on Nov. 22.

While deciding what to do their science project on was a challenge for some students, others faced the challenge of finding willing volunteers for their experiments.

Test subjects for Alicia Norris' experiment had to be willing to have questionable liquids placed on their tongue.

Norris tested which parts of the tongue are used to sense different tastes such as sweet, salty, sour and bitter. To find the answer she used Q-tips to place different solutions on the tongues of five volunteers.

To test bitter receptors Norris used an onion solution she made by cutting up onions and putting them in water.

"It smelled really strong," said Norris.

How do you get people to agree to having that put in their mouth?

"I told them it didn't taste disgusting," she said.

To be fair, Norris tested the experiment on herself as well.

She discovered that girls have more taste buds than boys because they were better able to tell what was on their tongue.

Putting herself and her human lab rats through the ordeal of tasting the onion solution turned out to be worth it because the project tied for first place in Class 6.

"I really like science," she said.

Morgan Lirette's volunteers had an easier task.

Using a science site for students she found on the Internet, Lirette decided to test if your sense of smell affects your sense of taste.

To find the answer to her question, Lirette blindfolded her volunteers and had them hold their nose while they ate a jellybean. They then got to unplug their nose and eat a second one.

According to her findings, Lirette said you need your sense of smell for your senses of taste to work properly. If you are older you need your sense of smell more.

With their noses plugged, some of her older test subjects guessed licorice when they were actually eating a lemon jellybean or thought a mint one tasted like banana or vanilla.

Lirette's scientific discovery tied her for first place in Class 6 with Norris. Future scientific findings from Lirette might not be far behind.

"Science is one of my favourite subjects," she said.