Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oatmeal, Picky Eaters, and The Loch Ness Monster

We found our Science Sunday project, on taste buds, and the genetics of picky eaters, in one of our library books on The Loch Ness Monster. It's strange, I know - but true.

In A.W. Flaherty's The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster, A Tale of Picky Eating, a young girl on her way, by ship, to visit her grandmother in Scotland, is served oatmeal for breakfast everyday, on instructions from her parents. Her parents just want her to grow up tall, and healthy, but the girl is a picky eater, and tosses her oatmeal out the window, into the ocean, where it is found by a tiny worm, who eats it up, and grows long, and healthy, and follows the ship to Scotland, where it becomes...well, you know.

Anyway, the story is really about picky eating, and not about the, and there is an experiment at the back of the book to help explain, that it is not the author' eater's fault, that they are picky eaters. In fact, they are super tasters, with more taste buds on the their tongues, than the average taster.

We had to try it out, after a delicious breakfast of monster face oatmeal, of course...

...which was appreciated more by some, than by others.

The experiment involves rubbing blue food coloring on the tongue, and then counting the number of taste buds, within a hole punch sized hole. The author suggests placing a hole reinforcer on the end of the tongue. We punched holes in wax paper, and held those over our tongues.

Our results were a little inconclusive, as all the children seemed to have more than 30 taste buds within a hole punched area, making them, according to the author, super tasters. So, we looked deeper, with a Nova video clip (click here to see it), that once it gets past some evolutionary, cave man, gobbledygook, focuses in on the genetic causes of picky eating, and is quite fascinating.

As to the Loch Ness Monster, Flaherty claims, space does not permit her to go into scientific detail, in her very cute picture book. But, we did also receive Elaine Landau's The Loch Ness Monster, from the library.

It details some of the past stories, and scientific evidence in favor, and against, the existence of the monster both in Loch Ness, and in Canada's Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia. We are beginning to suspect every large lake in the world has the rumor of one of these beasts.

For more fun with science, don't miss tomorrow's Science Sunday link-up, over at Adventure's in Mommydom.

Or, for more on what others are reading, and recommending for children, there is the "What My Child is Reading" link-up, right now, at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Debbie said...

Very interesting. This is similar to the information I was given about Selena and her being a picky eater as well as having troubles with textures.

Phyllis said...

The bowls of oatmeal are so cute, but I am afraid all of my boys would have the same expression as your one daughter.

Ticia said...

Interesting. My kids are more serial eaters. Wanting only one thing for a long time and then not liking it anymore

I met someone in college who went on a trip to find Nessy

Christy Killoran said...

I definitely think there is a reason some people are picky eaters. My boys are both very picky, but my daughter will eat just about anything. She is a better eater than I am!!!! I love the oatmeal.

Sherry Gann said...

My son is an incredibly picky eater! We will have to get this book--thanks. :)

Julie said...

What an interesting experiment. I'm very lucky that my kids aren't picky eaters, although they have both gone through periods of picking eating, and they both have their likes and dislikes. M won't eat anything spicy and C loves all things spicy so it would be interesting to see why this is so. I wonder if they really have differences in their taste buds.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a fun and interesting experiment. My kids have a pretty good variety of things they like. I have one that will eat things most kids won't, but won't eat something as simple as pb&j.

Jackie Higgins said...

Interesting! I'll have to look for that book-- more for me than for the kids ;)
Oh, and it's not just large lakes that have rumors. My husband the fisherman could tell you some wild stories about the gigantic fish? that was spotted in many of the small lakes that he spends hours fishing-- I guess in hopes of actually catching that very large something!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Oh boy, the book description really made me laugh. Maybe this explains why majority of young kids are picky eaters! Thanks for joining WMCIR!