Chocolate: The Key Ingredient to Home Schooling Success
There’s no getting around the fact that home schooling is HARD! And while we are all doing our best to stay home, stay safe and protect the NHS, tensions inside our homes may be beginning to bubble. And it’s not just parents who are racking their brains to think of fun and stimulating ways to ensure their children are following the national curriculum during lockdown, it’s teacher’s too.
Chocolate Collective has delivered hundreds of lessons inspired by chocolate to inspire children, in primary schools, secondary schools and sixth form colleges across the North West and Midlands. You may not know it, but chocolate is actually a part of the National Curriculum and can be used as a very motivating tool to help learning in key subjects such as history, English, food technology and even maths and science!
In the spirit of togetherness, I’m sharing some great resources I have found that use chocolate to deliver a variety of core subject areas. It is my way of using my skills and knowledge to help other people during this difficult time and spread my love of chocolate a little bit further.
Bring history to life with the fascinating story of how the chocolate we know today, came to be. The story begins in the wilderness of Aztec South America and takes you right through to a British newsagent. This BBC Bitesize resource has all the delicious details plus quizzes and fun facts, to help you test how much chocolate history your little one has digested.
Perhaps ask your child to imagine a news report describing the arrival of chocolate to Europe? Or, for younger children, ask them to write a letter to someone imagining they’re describing their very first taste of chocolate to a friend!
This brilliant resource from National Geographic Kids takes children on a journey to Ecuador to source the cacao bean and turn it into the chocolate we know and love. This is a great way to get children interested in geography, not only identifying areas of the world on a map where cacao beans grow but also the soil conditions and growing instructions needed to make this bean flourish.
Could you ask your kids to design a visual journey of chocolate from bean to bar? We happen to have created that one here at Chocolate Collective already, which may come in useful.
Perhaps the best ever Roald Dahl story is the fabulous Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s funny, it’s brilliantly written and it’s out-there descriptions of chocolate literally make your mouth water. The Roald Dahl website has some amazing resources, complete with downloadable lesson plans, all about language, identity and behaviour. I challenge both you, and your child, not to be howling with laughter, utterly engrossed and probably craving some chocolate by the time you have finished reading this brilliant story together.
Design & Technology
Inspire your kids to get creative and put their business cap’s on, by designing their own chocolate bar, complete with a brand that will make them stand out from the crowd! This is an activity I LOVE to do with high school and sixth form students, it really grips their imagination and the weird and wonderful designs they come up with, never fail to amaze and delight me!
For younger ones, I’ve linked to a free template from Twinkl that will help provide a starting point for this exercise, although you may have to create an account to access it. It is worth noting however, that Twinkl is offering free access to all their learning resources for a month, during the coronavirus lockdown.
When working on this project, ask your child to think about the name of their chocolate bar, what ingredients they would use, and the personality of the brand they are creating. It is an activity that you could both get stuck into for hours!
Perhaps a more traditional use of chocolate in the classroom, but one that is guaranteed to engage and inspire, as you and your little one not only get to lick the spoon but also sample your creations at the end of the lesson!
To make this a more challenging experience, why not ask your child to create their own chocolate recipe, taking your inspiration from others to create something completely unique. They can write down the method, work out the ingredients, calculate the measurements and then create their chocolate masterpiece.
There are so many amazing recipe resources online, just have a search to find recipes that make use of what you have in the cupboard and are age appropriate for your budding chocolatier.
I absolutely LOVE this cool trick using a REAL chocolate bar. Show your child this YouTube video first and work though it together. Then ask them to try and figure out how to explain it, using maths as their evidence. If they can, they get to eat the chocolate bar! And for all those adults out there who, like me, maths isn’t their strongest subject, here’s the answer!
There are so many great science experiments you can do with chocolate. As a chocolatier, I’m always amazed at the unique way chocolate reacts to external elements. In my workshop’s I teach people how to temper chocolate, an impressive thing to show off in future culinary creations!
But, for your little one, a great way to experiment with chocolate is to do some work on melting points. Check out this Chocolate Melting STEM Activity from Twinkl. Using different household items as containers for melting chocolate, it teaches your little one how heat travels through different materials. And best of all, each container will need emptying of chocolate after each round.
Use the magic of chocolate to inspire home schooling
My love of chocolate and fascination with it in all its forms is one of the reasons I started Chocolate Collective. I hope this list will inspire you, and your children (and teachers too!), to use the magic of chocolate to escape these uncertain times. Chocolate is a fantastic way to do something exciting, creative and educational together, and is a brilliant motivational tool when enthusiasm is starting to wane!