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A Valentine's Day
Chocolate Curriculum

A Valentine's Day Chocolate Curriculum

By Fran Wisniewski, Diane Flynn Keith and Annette M. Hall

Valentine's Day is synonymous with chocolate. Did you know that chocolate has been around for over 2000 years? It didn't start out as a candy bar — it started out as a drink! What follows are some great links to websites where you can learn about the origins of chocolate, how it was used, when and where the first chocolate factory started and much more! You'll also find some sweet activities that your family can do to extend the learning.

The Fascinating History & Science of Chocolate:

Virtually Pick Cacao Pods & Process Cocoa Beans Into Chocolate!

Take a virtual trip through the interactive exhibit at the Field Museum and learn how to pick cacao pods and ferment and process cocoa beans into chocolate. When you're done, explore the history of chocolate. Educators will find an informative thematic curriculum about chocolate, and the "Just for Kids" section has chocolate related puzzles and fun chocolate facts.

Is Chocolate An Animal, Vegetable Or Mineral?

Get the scoop on chocolate and discover when and where the first chocolate factory opened. Find out how to make your own chocolate. Want to know what food group chocolate belongs to? Visit this site and find out!

Meet The Creator of The Hershey Bar!

There is more to Hershey chocolates then meets the eye! Meet Milton S. Hershey, learn about his company's history. Take a video tour of the chocolate-making process. Find out how educators and group leaders can give the company a call and ask for the educational theme unit: "Hershey's Chocolate World". You can also request a small sample of unprocessed cocoa beans, a short biography of Milton S. Hershey, candy information, and bookmarks.

The Sweet Science of Chocolate!

Is chocolate good for you? The answer may surprise you. At the Exploratorium Museum online, you can watch a 2-hour web cast about chocolate. Watch as the ancient Aztec chocolate drink, "xocoatl" is made, while its history is explained. Listen as scientists describe why chocolate makes you feel good and how it affects our bodies.

Fun Chocolate Activities!

  1. Take A Chocolate Taste Test: Experimenting With Flavors and Textures
    Have you ever tried chocolate before it's been sweetened? It is not very tasty! But don't take my word for it, have a taste test and find out for yourself! Note: Each of these tastes should be lined up in the order given to really appreciate the activity!

    • First Taste: Unsweetened chocolate, serve shaved or cut into tiny pieces. Ask everyone to try a little bit. Most people will not like it, so have water close by to help wash it down!
    • Second Taste: Bittersweet chocolate, serve cut or shaved; ask everyone to taste a little piece. Some people may like it, but keep the water handy!
    • Third Taste: Serve pieces of semi-sweet chocolate. This may not be for everyone, but it's getting better!
    • Fourth Taste: Serve milk chocolate pieces; be sure to have enough for everyone!
    • Fifth Taste: Serve white chocolate pieces.

    After everyone has tasted a piece of each type of chocolate, invite them to try the chocolate they liked best again. Talk about why they prefer that type of chocolate and compare flavors and textures. It's interesting to hear some of the answers! Tip: Try different grades and types of chocolate for this yummy experiment. (For example compare Hershey's to Ghirardelli or Godiva or Scharfenberger.)

  2. Create A Candy Confection

    The idea here is to create a brand new candy confection, unlike anything on the market today, and give it an original name. Families can either work together or as individuals.

    Step 1: Choose a name for your confection and decide what ingredients to put in it. Here are some of the things you can add to your chocolate confection: Nuts, raisins, caramel, chips (butterscotch, peanut butter, toffee etc.), dried fruits, pretzels, cereal (crisp rice, granola, etc.), mint or orange flavoring, peanut butter, cookies, marshmallow, coconut, etc.

    Step 2: Purchase all the ingredients that will be needed and create a recipe. Decide how the ingredients will be added and how the candy confection will look. Make a "prototype" or a sample model, so that everyone can taste it.

    Step 3: Once you've designed and made your candy bar, create a marketing campaign to sell it!

    Musicians: Write a tune or jingle about your candy bar to let everyone know how delicious it is. Write lyrics to your own music or set them to a well-known tune.

    Writers: Write an ad for a homemade magazine. Take pictures of your candy creation and include them in your ad campaign. Design a poster. Create a commercial or a skit about the candy. Remember that everyone in the family can participate in a skit or commercial -- so be sure to give everyone a part! Have someone videotape it!

    Artists: Design a wrapper! What should it look like? What should it say? Will it be wild and crazy or plain and simple? Be as creative as possible. Will it be a simple paper wrapper, an origami container, or something else? Will you design a picture or will words become the art? Will it include a nutrition label and a list of ingredients? It is up to you to decide.

    Optional Activity: Come up with a slogan for your candy creation. (For example: M&M's melt in your mouth, not in your hands!)

    Wrapping It Up: Invite friends and family over on Valentine's Day to see what you've created! Let them taste the chocolate goodies!

    Idea: Homeschooling support groups can do this as a project! Set a time and a place to allow participants to show their stuff and let everyone have a taste of the candy creations.

  3. Play: "You Ate My Chocolate Bar!"

    This game is played like Battle Ship.
    Here's what to do:

    You'll need: 10x10 piece of graph paper and a pencil

    Setting up your grid: On the top row of your graph paper put the numbers 1-10 (one number per box) and then letter the left side of your graph paper with: A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J. Each player has 5 chocolate bars to place somewhere within the grid, horizontally and vertically. Make a box around each group of boxes to represent where each candy bar can be found, but don't let your opponent see! The candy bars cannot overlap.

    Here are some suggestions for candy bar names; you are welcome to change them.

    • 2 boxes = super-mini size
    • 3 boxes = mini size
    • 4 boxes = snack size
    • 5 boxes = break size
    • 6 boxes = king size

    How to play: Decide who goes first, and then take turns calling out coordinates. (For example: 1-F, 10-J and so forth)

    As each candy bar is "bitten", a "C" should be written in that grid box, and when all of the boxes have been bitten in one type of candy bar, the player should say, " You've Eaten My _________" (For example if the snack size candy bar has 4 bites taken out of it, the player would say, "You've eaten my snack size candy bar!") Take turns trying to take bites out of each other's candy bars until all of one player's candy bars have been "eaten"! Don't forget to record misses with an "X" so you know where you've been!

  4. IV - More Fun Chocolate Activities!
    1. Make a poster, storyboard or story of the life of a cocoa bean. Start with a cacao pod and finish with a bar of chocolate or some other chocolaty treat!
    2. Learn how to temper chocolate.
    3. Look at chocolate sculptures.
    4. Is chocolate good for you? Find out here.
    5. Where is chocolate grown?
    6. Do some Charie and the Chocolate Factory activities.
    7. Play interactive chocolate games at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory website.

    Bonus Activity: Make your own chocolate! Purchase kits here.

Choco- Lit

Read chocolate-themed literature! Here are some books that are about chocolate or have chocolate in the plot.

Movies and Videos about Chocolate

For Further Learning...