Monday, November 21, 2011

Teacher Resource for Chocolate: The Field Museum


By far, one of my favorite resources for studying chocolate is the Field Museum website. Their current exhibit, Chocolate Around the World, will be on display through January 8th, 2012. If you happen to live in Chicago, you should definitely try to swing by there, or plan a trip for your class. They still have several weekend activities planned between now and the end of the year. In fact, this Friday and Saturday (Nov 25th & 26th), artist Rebecca Moy will be painting an original chocolate masterpiece. The following weekend on Dec 3rd, Rhonda Morkes will be creating chocolate gingerbread houses, and during the last week of December, Pastry Chef Omar Martinez, from Food for Thought, will be creating a miniature version of the Field Museum - out of chocolate!

But aside from these fun events, the museum's website is full of information. The Educators' Resources area offers six lessons on the relationship between chocolate and the environment, and another six lessons between chocolate and culture for teachers to download. You can also find Fascinating Facts, Chocolate Quotations, Recipes, and Book and Movie Lists, to name a few. In the All About Chocolate section is another page with activities Just for Kids.

In addition, the site offers three interactives. Manufacturing Chocolate takes the visitor through the process of making chocolate from growing the trees to pouring them into molds. My kids love this interactive because it lets them cut the beans with a machete, pack them into bags, start the various machines and much more.

The Chocolate Challenge takes you on a journey around the world - but only by answering questions about chocolate can you advance on your journey! Again, more fun for the kids, but mine were a little too young. Best suited for children ages 9 (10?) and up.

Cacao Farm helps you discover the connections between cacao and its environment by using your virtual binoculars or microscope to study the differences between cacao farms and rain forests.

So if you're looking for a fun - but educational - distraction for the kids this holiday weekend, this website is a great place to start!

Con mucho cariño...

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