Welcome back for a new school year! This year I will be framing K-5 Economics activities within the Common Core Standards for Reading and the English Language Arts and Mathematics. Within this unit of Chocolate Economics, I will provide resources and materials about this yummy topic that align to content standards for Economics.
One of the key issues being stressed in Common Core discussions is the inclusion of both literary and informational texts (including photos, videos, websites, charts, graphs, etc.) into the Language Arts curriculum. In the next few postings, I’ll provide ideas and links to resources.
The Hershey Company: Making Our Chocolate (elementary school lexile levels)
Manufacturing Chocolate (higher lexile levels)
Movies: Learn how to download these videos in Technology Tips
Curious George Visits Taza Chocolate Factory
How Chocolate is Made in a Factory
How It’s Made: Assorted Chocolates
How It’s Made: Chocolate Coins
Where Chocolate Comes From and How It Was Made
Investigating food production is a great way to introduce beginning economic concepts. Students need to learn that although money doesn’t grow on trees, food sometimes does! However, movement from the tree, to the grocery store, to their home is a complex process.
Now let’s investigate some NGSSS Standards for Economics that could be investigated using the multiple texts:
SS.K.E.1.1. Describe different kinds of jobs that people do and the tools or equipment used.
1) Read Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory. Before reading tell students that they are going to help Curious George solve the mystery of how chocolate is made! During an interactive read-aloud, encourage students to search for the different jobs and equipment needed to make chocolate in the factory Curious George visited. After reading, ask the students what the author showed them about how chocolate was made. Help students by looking back through the text and encouraging them to look at both the words or the pictures to find the answers. Then have students create a written product to illustrate their understanding. They can create their own picture book (using a combination of images and text based on their ability) where they label the tools and jobs/equipment that were used to make chocolate in the factory George visited.
2) Informational Text #1 Video. Show students the videos of Curious George Visits Taza Chocolate Factory and/or any of the other videos. Have them identify the different jobs and tools/equipment and ingredients (goods) they see in the video and compare this to Curious George’s factory from the book.
3) Informational Text #2 Chocolate Making Interactive Book by Field Museum (requires updated Adobe Flash Player). This is a very engaging example of an informational text because the students read and interact with the story. Before reading, ask the students to look for the different jobs or tools used to produce chocolate. Then, during reading make notes on chart paper or a board when students identify different tools and jobs. For example, they may discuss the machette or knife that is used to cut the cocoa pod off of the tree or they may discuss the leaves that are placed on top of the pods while they ferment (explain vocabulary word). After reading ask the students what this author taught them about making chocolate. What new facts did they learn in this story?
3) Writing about the processes of chocolate making. An excellent digital tool for timeline organization is the ReadWriteThink Timeline, which can be used to make a timeline together. Then, students you can print a blank timeline and students can fill it in as you discuss the different jobs and equipment that are identified in the informational text.