Sunday, January 1, 2012

Chocolate Unit Links and Books

We weren't really planning on a chocolate themed study last week, but along the way of exploding chocolate Santas in the microwave, seizing and "saving" melted chocolate, testing the "melt in your mouth, not in your hands" quality of M&Ms, blooming chocolate, and watching it melt (my personal favorite), we learned enough about the geography, history, mathematics, and science of chocolate, mainly from the video links below, to easily create an entire unit study.

Video Links (move your mouse over the titles to find the links):

The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest

"Chocolate" on (this is a subscription service, so an account is required to view the video clip.

The Food Network's Good Eats episodes "
The Art of Darkness I, II and III" with Alton Brown.

The Science Channel's
How It's Made: Cocoa Beans.

Hershey's "
Making our Chocolate" (sort of has a 1950s Disney feel to it).

After all we learned from these clips, I decided to stick with chocolate themed fiction for fun, as a compliment to our experiments, instead of checking out any of the non-fiction, from bean to bar type books for the children.

The younger children, and I enjoyed Margret & H.A. Rey's Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Shop. The librarian who checked it out for us, glanced down at the cover, and without even cracking a grin said, "I bet he's going to into trouble, but it will work out in the end." That pretty well sums up all the Curious George books, doesn't it? This particular title reminded me of the I Love Lucy chocolate factory episode, which naturally, we had to watch, too.

Our favorite book of the week was Patrick Skene Catling's take on the Midas touch - The Chocolate Touch. It's a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle meets Bread and Jam for Frances cautionary tale about the dangers of being greedy when it comes to chocolate... is Robert Kimmel Smith's Chocolate Fever, though told with a slightly less magic flair.

Chocolate by Hershey, A Story about Milton S. Hershey by Betty Burford was the one non-fiction, simple chapter book I did pick up, for additional reading after watching the biography of the inspiring entrepreneur on

I also brought in a few of Jerry Pallota's chocolate themed math books. They are fairly simple, but always a big hit with the younger children.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Linked with What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns.


Christy Killoran said...

We just read that Curious George book yesterday. R loves George!

C read Chocolate Fever on his own last month and really enjoyed it.

We like the Hershey math books too.

Ticia said...

I love those math books too! I need to go back and check out that exploding Santa, it must have been the post I missed in the series with my spotty internet and such.....

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

As a staunch rule follower, Anna hates Curious George - she never warmed up to it. I brought Chocolate Fever home about 6 months ago but after looking through the book realized that daughter might be somewhat disturbed by the events, especially when he turns his Mom into a chocolate. Perhaps later. Thanks for joining WMCIR!

Jackie Higgins said...

I've taught both The Chocolate Touch and Chocolate Fever when I was teaching public school. I love those books but we never did get to blow up a chocolate Santa as part of our unit ;) I think you unschoolers have the right ideas!! Fun!

Kendra said...

Have you seen the Amanda Bennet Chocolate Studies? lol And I confess, between a food allergy and living where I do I haven't spotted any marshmallow santas, but now I'm sooo tempted. I saw another experiment with the ceased chocolate where someone was able to turn it into a chocolate/fudge type sauce for ice cream..