Studying Chocolate in Year 4
Wouldn’t it be amazing if chocolate grew on trees?
Year 4 students were captivated earlier this week by a surprise entry point to their Term 1 learning theme of Chocolate. Throughout this exciting, mouth-watering theme, Year 4 will use chocolate as a vehicle to study a variety of subjects. They will be learning about the history of chocolate making, the culture of the Mayans and the Aztecs and fair trade. Students will also be making their own varieties of chocolate in Science and D+T, as well as designing their own chocolate bar labels in Art.
To begin this extravaganza of chocolate, the students heard Michael Rosen perform his poem ‘Chocolate Cake’ and then were launched into Roald Dahl’s world of chocolate at Mr Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Surprise guests from the famous story dramatically performed the moment the children in the story entered Willy Wonka’s wonderful chocolate filled world. Mr Wonka then challenged them to explore chocolate in four different ways through play-based learning.
As historians, the Year 4 students went back in time and learnt that the Aztecs believed that chocolate was a gift from the god Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and that the seeds once had so much value that they were used as a form of currency worth more than gold! They then learned how to make Aztec hot chocolate and had the opportunity to taste their concoctions, which had a bit of a spicy kick. It was certainly an acquired taste! Year 4 students followed up with a cup of hot chocolate more suited to their tastes – surely a delicious treat!
The next activity looked at combining different materials to create chocolate themed playdough, which was then used to create innovative chocolate sculptures. Through mindfulness, the students tasted and analysed chocolates, blind folded, with varying amounts of cocoa and flavours. The final activity involved becoming ‘Cookie Quality Controllers’ as they had to carefully map out and excavate chocolate chips from cookies. This led to some mathematical analysis as Mr Wonka wanted to know if his cookies were consistent in their cookie to chocolate chip ratio.
This exciting start to the theme of chocolate has sparked the curiosity and creativity of our Year 4 learners. They are already inspired, posing deep and interesting questions about chocolate that will drive their learning throughout Term 1.