Does the colour of a drink affect your perception of its taste? 6th Class have a Blast with Science!

In the week before all the schools closed, 6th Class had a blast at the RDS with the ESB Science Blast. Their experiment was to see if the brain predicts the taste of a drink based on its colour.

They had 3rd, 4th and 5th Class do two experiments in their classroom. Each experiment was split into two groups. Each class rotated around the four groups.

The first experiment was to see if people would be deceived by the colour of a drink even if it was the same flavour. The two groups dyed lemonade red, blue, yellow and purple.  One group blindfolded the subjects, whereas the other group didn’t. The subjects in both groups tried all the colours and shared their opinions as to what flavour they thought it was. Many people were fooled! For example, 49% of subjects in the non-blindfolded group said that the red-coloured lemonade was strawberry.

The second experiment was done with fruit-flavoured juices. One group used the original colours and the other group dyed the juices contradicting colours. The orange juice looked like strawberry, the peach juice looked like orange, the apple juice looked like blackcurrant and the strawberry juice looked like apple juice. This was a more successful experiment. Most people guessed right when the drinks were the ‘right’ colours. Only 37% of people guessed the correct flavours when the drinks were dyed the wrong colours!

Can you guess what flavours these are? Some are right and some are wrong!

With their experiment done, they headed to the RDS! After setting up their stall, they went to a nanotechnology show. Nano- means really tiny things that you can’t see with the naked eye. They saw how difficult it is to work with nanotechnology when two volunteers had to put on massive gloves and had to try to join Lego bricks together. They also had to wear protective gear, because if they contaminated it with a piece of fluff or hair that falls off their clothes, it could ruin what they were working on. They saw a short film by IBM using only atoms. They also learned that if you put a phone under a microscope, all pictures are composed of blue, green and red.

After the show, 6th Class split into groups. Each group took shifts at the stall and the others explored the other projects and stalls. Many companies came with exciting experiments. Some people lay on a bed of nails. Some had to complete tasks using virtual reality. Others had to complete other fun tasks and games using engineering. When you filled out surveys you got prizes, such as pencils you can plant. Unfortunately the queues for some things were really long!

Another show had Marty Jopsen from BBC. He showed them lots of bugs, mini-beasts and water bears under a microscope. They learned that spiders actually have ten limbs, that woodlice are actually crustacea, and there are tiny bugs that live in water called hydra. He also showed them lice and nits that he had pickled in gin. They have claws that are made to cling on to your hair and they eat your blood. He also showed them blood cells from his blood and spit from a teacher.

Blood under a microscope!

Then they ate and headed back to school. Overall, everyone enjoyed it and 6th Class would love to do it again sometime.