Learn about chocolate with this complete English or Spanish lesson plan from the history and origins in Latin American pre-Columbian cultures to the contemporary candy bars we love! Students learn about the process of growing cacao trees, drying and roasting the beans, mixing it with sugar and ending in the chocolate we know today. Student and teachers enjoy this very thorough unit, with a stunning power point of different photos (with teacher script), differentiated readings (3 levels!) and comprehension questions, geography mapping activity, practice reading charts, a recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, and more. This is the ultimate unit for Spanish, English, and Social Studies teachers looking to integrate cultural and historical lessons from Latin America into their curriculum. Teach your students about chocolate!
The History of Cacao
Before students begin to learn about cacao, I begin with a K-W-L chart. to find out what kids already know, and what they want to learn about chocolate. Most of the discussion is about familiar candy and desserts- it is rare for kids to know about the history and cultural implications!
I then like to start this chocolate lesson plan with the origin of cacao, from the Aztecs and Maya in what is now Mexico. In this unit, there are 11 gorgeous photos in a presentation with a teacher script (in English or in Spanish depending on the packet). 4000 years ago, cacao grew from Central America to Brazil! First used in Mesoamerica by Pre-Columbian cultures in ceremonies, many cultures would only serve it to male warriors, rulers, and priests. They believed it would make people healthier and stronger!
Through the slideshow, we learn the history of chocolate and then how it is processed from cacao beans through to chocolate bars. Kids are fascinated by what the actual cacao fruit looks like. In this chocolate lesson, we learn that the seeds inside the pulp are treated and cooked in a certain way to make the chocolate we eat.
The Story of a Chocolate Bar (Minibook)
This fabulously-illustrated minibook builds on the information the kids learned in the presentation. The minibook explains how cacao grows on trees in the rainforest, and finally gets poured into molds to make candy bars.
The minibook can easily be added to an interactive notebook, or works well on its own.
The History of Chocolate: 3 Leveled Readings
Many teachers are looking to provide differentiated lessons, because we have kids at different reading levels within one class. Other teachers teach several age levels, and would like to adapt and use the same materials across different grades. For this reason, this packet includes 3 separate readings and comprehension questions at varying levels. Kids will be learning the same information, but each reading passage is adapted to contain different levels of vocabulary, syntax, and sentence length.
My mission at Kid World Citizen is to always bring in global learning and geographic and cultural awareness into every lesson.
In this chocolate unit, I LOVE the interactive mapping activity. Students get a world map, and have to follow instructions related to chocolate and geography. This particular activity asks kids to label continents, the equator, and chocolate producing regions.
Next, kids read charts and graphs related to chocolate production (pie graph) and consumption (bar graph). Honestly, even adults will find this intriguing. Do you know which country produces the most chocolate? (Cote d’Ivoire!) Which country consumes the most? (Switzerland!) With high-interest materials, students are highly motivated to solve the questions.
Additional, Related Materials
After we learn about chocolate’s origins, history, and process, there is a little game I like to play with kids. Working in teams, they have to think of as many items as they can that contain chocolate! This is a great introduction to the next activities. After learning all about chocolate, we have 3 tasting activities related to chocolate, including this yummy Mexican hot chocolate recipe (below).
Finally, to learn even more about chocolate, we have included a multicultural book list and some incredible videos to accompany the lessons (13 books, 3 videos).
Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
(The following amount makes 21 ounces of hot chocolate, which would be 7 servings in the little 3 oz dixie cups. It is simple to double, triple, or quadruple the amount to make enough for a class):
- 1.5 tablets of Mexican chocolate tablets (such as Chocolate Ibarra, Nestle Abuelita- 6 tablets come in a box, so you could make a quadruple of this recipe)
- 1 Can of Evaporated Milk (easier to have in class than milk that has to be refrigerated)
- 8 oz Water
- Little Dixie Cups
3 Easy Steps
- Grate the chocolate into the pot. (You also can put them in a baggie and pound them with a rolling pin or meat pounder).
- In a pot over low to medium heat, stir in the chocolate, water, and cinnamon.
- Once it is melted, add the milk and whisk it over low to medium heat until the chocolate has incorporated into the milk.
These are excellent lessons to broaden students’ understandings of Mexico! Moving far beyond the typical content presented about Mexico, the Mayans, and the Aztecs, this unit is as “tasty” as they come!!!
LET’S LEARN ABOUT CHOCOLATE PRINTABLES!
We have designed this entire Chocolate Unit with Readings, Maps, and Hispanic Culture that can be found at the our Kid World Citizen Teachers Pay Teachers Store! This packet contains everything you need to introduce and learn about the history and origins in Latin American pre-Columbian cultures to the contemporary candy bars we love.
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This entire unit is in English, but we do offer the unit in Spanish here ====> >
Story of Chocolate Unit in Spanish!!