Thursday, January 28, 2016


Chocolate Hearts Science Experiment: Forms of Energy!

It's time for chocolate, hearts, valentines, and science!  Today we're using chocolate to teach about forms of energy and states of matter!

In Texas, kindergarten students are expected to know that heat is a form of energy and can change matter.  Third graders are expected to explore, predict, test, and record changes to matter caused by heat.  First and second graders are also expected to learn about forms of energy, including heat, and how heat can change matter.  Today's lesson (with a super fun experimenting activity) uses chocolate to teach these science concepts to older kiddos and introduce them to preschoolers!

Before you get started you may want to do this chocolate sensory science activity so your kiddos know that chocolate doesn't grow sweet!  It's not necessary for this project, but it's nice background information.  It also helps create a framework, or previous knowldedge that can be associated with this new information (click here for more information on how kids learn).

Simple Supplies:

* chocolate chips
* olive oil
* microwave
* heart molds (I made ours from aluminum foil)
* thermometer
* optional: raisins

Easy How To:

1- Ask your kiddos about different types of energy. We had four kids (preK-3rd grade) who came up with heat, electric, solar, and light.  Tell them we're focusing in on heat today, but we'll use electric too!

2- Review what matter is (anything that takes up space and has mass).  Matter can be solid (like our raisins, chocolate chips, and aluminum foil), liquid (like water or milk), or a gas (like air) What do you think happens if you add heat energy to matter?  Today we're going to try it out...and make some chocolate heart "candies" while we're learning science!

3- We started out by placing some raisins in the bottom of our heart mold.  Then we needed to melt the chocolate.

Chocolate chips are fun to melt because they retain their shape as they melt, but they are also very sensitive and will burn/overcook very easily.  Drizzling a little bit of olive oil (a liquid!) over the chocolate will make it easier to melt without burning.

4- Drizzle oil over the chocolate chips and stir to evenly coat them.  Measure their temperature.

5- Add heat energy to the chocolate chips by placing them in the microwave.  We used 1 cup of chocolate chips and cooked them for 30 seconds.  Predict: are they liquid or not?  Find out by stirring them again.  About half of ours had melted.

6- Add more heat energy to the chocolate chips.  Each time you cook them, halve the cooking time.  This time we cooked them for 15 seconds.  Predict: are they liquid now?  How much have they changed?  Stir to find out out.  Measure their temperature again.  We had to cook them one last time for 5 seconds before the whole bowl was liquid.  If you're using a microwave to add heat energy, you are also using electric energy to turn on the microwave.

7- Pour the liquid chocolate into your heart molds!  We used a spoon to control the pouring. This is perfect for Valentine's Day, but you can actually use any shape you want!  Experiment with chocolate science and heat energy during Halloween, and use a Halloween mold!  or use Christmas molds during the holidays.  Or, like my daughter suggested, design your own chocolate candy shapes!  Anyways, after your chocolate is poured into your mold, ask your kiddos what would happen if you removed the heat energy from the chocolate.  (It will harden...change from a liquid to solid.)  How can you remove the heat energy from the chocolate?  Let it sit on the counter!  Or, like my 5-year old said, put it in the freezer!  We put it in the freezer for about 35 minutes, and it was wonderfully solid, but still soft enough to eat!  Extension: what happens to heat energy when you wait for your meal to "cool down" enough to eat?

As we waited for our chocolate to cool, we cleaned the play room.  When you pull out your new candy to eat it, you can review the concepts again (matter, solids, liquids, energy, forms of energy, heat, electric).

Do your kids love chocolate?  Use it for all your lessons!  Here are some more fun ways you can incorporate chocolate into learning:

Make Fractions Fun with Chocolate from Crafty Kids at Home
Chocolate Cocoa Writing Tray from Still Playing School
Chocolate Sight Words Writing from Natural Beach Living
Chocolate Chips Math from Sugar Aunts

And do you love science?  Be sure to check out our 100+ Science Experiments & Activities!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Kim Staten said...

My daughters would definitely love this experiment!

Nicola Simpson said...

Everything is more fun when you use chocolate as a learning tool!