Learn About Chocolate with This Sweet Unit Study

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Homeschooling gives us quite a bit of flexibility over our curriculum choices. We can choose what we want to teach and sometimes our kids can choose what they want to learn. We are not limited to traditional subjects. We can even learn about chocolate during ‘school time’.

I like to let my kids choose their history and science subjects in 8th grade. At that point, they have studied all of the traditional subjects and we don’t have to consider high school transcripts yet. It feels like the perfect year to have as much fun as possible and explore unique interests.

When my daughter was in 8th grade I let her choose what to learn about for a semester of history (my son chose the other semester – history of video games). She is just like her mama and loves all things chocolate, so naturally, she wanted to learn about chocolate.

I created a unit study so that we could learn about chocolate together. We really enjoyed these lessons. This was one of our favorite unit studies.

Learn About Chocolate with This Sweet Unit Study

Share this post so other people can enjoy the chocolate unit study too!

Learn About Chocolate

The first step in our chocolate unit study was to learn as much about chocolate as possible. We spent some time learning about the history of chocolate, the geographical area that is rich in cocoa (a.k.a. the chocolate belt), and the production process.

The chocolate unit study printable (available at the bottom of the post) contains educational information about the history, geography, and production of chocolate.

The printable includes a few pages to learn about chocolate:

  • KWL (Know, Want to Learn, and Learned) chart
  • Resource page that tells how the flavor of a cocoa bean is influenced by geography
  • Color in the Chocolate Belt and answer comprehension questions
  • History of chocolate
  • From cacao tree to chocolate bar – put the pictures in order

Chocolate Taste Test

My kids were VERY excited about conducting a chocolate taste test.

I purchased a large assortment of chocolate bars at my local grocery store. Work with whatever you have available, but we used white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and a few varieties with extra ingredients. The dark chocolate with chili peppers was an interesting flavor.

We tasted each type of chocolate one at a time. We noted the appearance, smell, flavor, mouthfeel, and overall thoughts.

The printable includes a page to note the details of each sweet treat.

After you try the taste test with chocolate bars, give it a try with various flavors and brands of hot chocolate.

Language Arts Chocolate Lessons

One of the things I love about unit studies is the ability to overlap subjects. We can learn about chocolate and language arts at the same time!

Acrostic poems – Acrostic poems are a form of poetry that is a little less intimidating than the rhyming variety. The printable unit study includes two acrostic poem options, but you can create acrostic poems for any word that is associated with chocolate.

Sweet Treats Journal Prompts – Writing prompts can help get the creative juices flowing. These free writing prompts from WriteShop all revolve around candy.

I like to let my kids choose which writing prompts they want to use. Sometimes one will just instantly spark an idea. If they don’t like any of the choices they are free to come up with their own creative ideas.

Booklist – We read a combination of nonfiction and fiction as part of our chocolate unit study. The printable includes 9 suggested titles, but I will share our favorites here:

Milton Hershey: More Than Chocolate by Janet and Geoff Benge – This book is part of the Heroes of History series.

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Candy Graph

We can combine learning about chocolate with math too. Small packages of M&Ms are the perfect manipulative to practice graphing.

When my family worked our way through the unit study my kids were old enough that they were past the point of needing graphing practice, but we did it anyway. They saw the worksheet (included in the printable pack) that I created to include in the PDF and wanted in on the fun.

Want to sneak in some extra chocolate math practice? Hershey kisses, chocolate chips, and M&Ms all make great hands-on math manipulatives. Math manipulatives make just about all math lessons a little easier.

Create Your Own Chocolate Bar

As the final project in our chocolate unit study my kids created their own candy bars.

They spent some time trying to decide what sort of flavor combinations and textures they wanted to create. Years ago we were lucky to tour the Seattle Chocolate factory in Washington and saw a ton of different possible flavors. The possibilities are endless!

My kids each chose a chocolate base (white, milk, or dark chocolate) and an inclusion (extra ingredient).

Materials:

  • Base chocolate (we used chocolate found in the baking aisle)
  • Inclusions (cookie crumbles, caramel, dried fruit, peanut butter, potato chips, pretzels, nuts, etc.)
  • Chocolate bar mold

Directions:

  1. Melt the base chocolate according to the directions on the package.
  2. Pour the chocolate into the mold. Fill it a little under halfway.
  3. Sprinkle in the inclusions.
  4. Pour more melted chocolate into the mold over the inclusions
  5. Let it sit a few hours until the chocolate hardens.
  6. Enjoy!

My daughter chose to make a white chocolate bar with pieces of Oreos included. My son split his chocolate bar in half. One half was white chocolate with sour apple pop rocks. The other half was milk chocolate with strawberry pop rocks. It was surprisingly good!

Interested in learning about chocolate with this unit study? Sign up for my email list to receive a PDF of all the chocolate activities above plus two coloring pages and a word search.

The printable chocolate unit study includes:

  • KWL chart
  • Information about the geography of chocolate
  • Chocolate belt and comprehension questions
  • Information about the history of chocolate
  • Information about the process of going from cacao tree to chocolate bar
  • Worksheet to put the steps in order
  • Chocolate taste test notes record
  • 2 Acrostic poems
  • Chocolate book list
  • Chocolate candy graph
  • Directions to create your own chocolate bar
  • 2 Chocolate coloring pages
  • Chocolate word search

This study of chocolate obviously ties in well with Valentine’s Day (February 14th), but it also is great for World Chocolate Day (July 7th) – a fun holiday all about this sweet treat.

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Keep reading . . .

If you are in the Seattle area, you HAVE to check out the Seattle Chocolates tour. The Seattle Chocolates field trip might be my favorite field trip of the year!

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