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Chocolate is an ever-popular topic to explore with primary school children! Check out these fascinating chocolate facts for KS2 children and teachers. You might find out some surprising information about the world’s favourite sweet treat!
Chocolate is a sweet, brown food made from cocoa beans. It usually comes in solid bars but can also be powdered or melted. Chocolate is a sweet treat that is eaten all around the world.
The history of chocolate began in Central America, in an area that is now southern Mexico. The Maya, who lived in the area from about 250-900 AD, first used chocolate as a cold drink, as well as for currency; instead of trading coins, they would trade cocoa beans.
The Aztecs (who lived from about 1200-1500 AD) also drank chocolate, although they drank theirs hot instead of cold. Aztec legend stated that the god Quetzalcoatl brought cocoa to earth. He was then cast out of paradise for giving it to humans because only gods were fit to drink cocoa!
Aztecs picking cocoa fruit from a cocoa tree
When Europeans like Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in the 15th century, they brought the cocoa bean back to Europe with them.
For more in-depth learning about how the Aztecs and Maya used chocolate, check out this ready-to-teach History lesson for KS2!
It wasn’t until 1847 that the first chocolate bar was produced. The British chocolate company J.S. Fry & Sons created the first edible chocolate bar from cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Soon, many other companies, such as Cadburys, Lindt and Hershey’s all started producing their own solid chocolate bars and the modern obsession with chocolate was born!
An early Fry's chocolate advert
The journey of a chocolate bar begins with cocoa beans. The beans are harvested between October and December when they are dried in the sun before being sent to a chocolate factory.
Cocoa fruit on a cocoa tree (left) and the beans inside the cocoa fruit (right).
In the chocolate factory, the beans are heated in a roaster which makes them break down into small pieces. The shells are then removed. The centres of the beans are then ground into a thick brown liquid which is known as ‘cocoa liqueur’. This is then mixed with milk and sugar.
The liquid is then dried into a crumb-like consistency before being squashed together by a giant roller. The chocolate is then tempered, which involves heating and cooling the mixture several times until it reaches the right consistency.
It is then poured into moulds and cooled to create the final chocolates.
Liquid chocolate being poured into moulds in a factory.
Cocoa beans grow in humid tropical climates. Most of the world’s cocoa beans are grown around the equator in countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Peru in South America, Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire in Africa, and Indonesia and Malaysia in Asia.
The difference between milk and dark chocolate is the amount of milk and sugar that is added, as well as the amount of cocoa solids used in the chocolate. Cocoa butter is the fatty part of the cocoa bean whereas cocoa solids refers to the powder that is left behind.
Milk chocolate uses a lower percentage of cocoa solids (usually around 25 per cent) and adds much more milk and sugar. Dark chocolate uses between 70 - 99 per cent cocoa solids. It is much less sweet than milk chocolate.
White chocolate is technically not chocolate at all because it only uses cocoa butter and not cocoa solids.
Explore the different melting points of different types of chocolate with this fun Melting Chocolate Experiment Science lesson!
In the UK, it is estimated that people eat on average 11kg of chocolate every year. This is the same as about 3 bars a week, or 156 bars every year!
Despite cocoa beans growing in South America, Africa and Asia, 50% of all chocolate in the world is eaten in Europe, with Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, the UK and Norway being the top chocolate eaters.
It is estimated that around 7.5 million tons of chocolate is eaten around the world every year! A ton is about the same weight as a polar bear.
Cocoa farmers have to work really hard to grow and harvest cocoa beans, and they often aren’t paid well for their work. Big companies buy the beans cheaply, often leaving the cocoa farmers without enough money for their crop.
The fair trade movement aims to make sure cocoa farmers are paid fairly for the work they do and the cocoa beans they produce. Next time you buy a chocolate bar, check to see if it has a fair trade logo. If it does, you know that the cocoa farmer who produced the beans for your chocolate bar was paid fairly.
The Fairtrade Foundation logo
Well, both actually. Eating too much chocolate is bad for you because of the high fat and sugar content. Eating too much chocolate can cause problems such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
However, studies have shown that eating a little chocolate every month has a range of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels, keeping your brain functioning well and reducing the risks of heart problems. This is particularly true of dark chocolate; the higher the cocoa solid content, the higher the benefits. So if you want to eat chocolate, consider swapping milk or white chocolate for dark chocolate next time you have a craving!
Check out all the lessons in our ready-to-teach cross-curricular Chocolate Topic for Year 3 and Year 4 children in KS2! You might also be interested in our Charlie and the Chocolate Factory English lessons for Year 3, or our Chocolate Poetry lessons for Year 4.
These are excellent. I have found them really useful.
That's great to hear, Sally! Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review :-)
There were a few good slides and activities in this pack but overall I would not recommend. I bought this after finding the Mexico pack was great ( factual case studies, good map activities, attractive slides). However, the coast pack is not as good. It lacks depth, case study (Scarborough) is too old, limited map work/skills.
Hi Katie, thank you for taking the time to leave us a review - we always appreciate feedback from our customers. We are constantly updating and improving our resources, and so I will pass on your comments about this scheme to the resource creators.
Some great resources to help children understand how medicine has evolved over time. We love the emphasis on primary & secondary sources too.
Thank you for taking the time to leave us a review, Sharon!
Fabulous and just what I was looking for as a structure to support staff in planning their own units.
The presentation and resources ere excellent quality and this was FREE.
Can’t wait to explore some of the other units on offer and use the 20% off provided. Thank you!
You're welcome, Kerry! We are so pleased to hear that you liked our resources and found them useful :-)
Will be good to use at start of Rivers theme ( SEND school KS3). To identify names of rivers pupils are familiar with and review at the end.
Thanks, Kim - we're glad that this resource has been useful for you :-)
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