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National Chocolate Day

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Sunday, October 28 is the National Chocolate Day, so why not join the celebration and at the same time make it a learning experience?

Chocolate Sampling

You will need to purchase the following types of chocolate for sampling: unsweetened, milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate

Break up into pieces each of the different types of chocolate and put them on individual plates. Have each person close their eyes and sample a piece of each type of chocolate. Have everyone rate them from 5 being their favorite to 1 being the least favorite. Reveal to your participants what each type of chocolates was and tally the points each received. You could create a bar graph for math with each of the chocolates.

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How Chocolate is Made (Science) 

Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree.  Cacao, which has been cultivated for at least three millennia, is grown in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America.  The earliest known documentation of use, of cacao seeds, is around 1100 BC.  The cacao tree seeds have a very intense bitter taste that must be fermented to develop the flavor.

Once the seeds have been fermented, the beans are then dried, cleaned and roasted.  After roasting, the shell is removed to produce cacao nibs.  The cacao nibs are then ground into a cocoa mass which is pure chocolate in rough form.   The cocoa mass is usually liquefied then molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor.  The chocolate liquor may then be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. 

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  • Unsweetened baking chocolate –  cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions.
  • Sweet chocolate –  cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat and sugar.
  • Milk chocolate – sweet chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk.
  • White chocolate – cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids.
  • Dark chocolate- cacao beans, sugar, emulsifying agent

Some good news about dark chocolate if eaten without any milk: it can lower your blood pressure; it has a large number of antioxidants. Now, that is good news!:)

Language Arts How about having your daughter or son create a story about chocolate or reading this book? (Click on the book to go to the link.)

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Geography

Using the chart of the top ten producers of cacao, locate the countries on a map. Have your son/ daughter read the number aloud to reinforce place value. (math)

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Culminating Activity- Make a chocolate dessert. This can be cookies, pie, ice cream, a malt… There are limitless possibilities, aren’t there?

Enjoy!  ~Lisa~

Apples! Activities for Your School Day

Did you know there are 2,500 varieties of apples are grown in the United States? 7,500 varieties of apples are grown throughout the world? 100 varieties of apples are grown commercially in the United States?* I didn’t either, but that explains why when I go to the store there is another type of apple I haven’t heard of that is available for me to try. Since September will be scurrying away so quickly and apples will soon be past picking, why not take advantage of the varieties that are available and teach an Interest Unit? If you live in Ohio, you can count this for your study of Ohio history. 🙂

Make Applesauce 

Most children love applesauce and it’s such an easy project that your children can help you make it. Start it in your crockpot in the morning and enjoy in the afternoon as a snack.

Materials needed:

8-10 apples- peeled, cored, and cubed

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup brown sugar (If you buy a sweet variety, you don’t even need this!)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- add to the apples or wait until after it has cooked)

One large crockpot

Place all ingredients in the crockpot and turn on high. Allow apples to cook for 4-5 hours. Depending upon how chunky you want your applesauce to be, you can either take a wooden spoon or potato masher and break up the cooked apples into smaller pieces, or place in a blender and process until you have the desired consistency. Doesn’t this look good?

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As the delicious smell of applesauce fills your house you can do some apple inspired school activities.

Free Apple Math Pack has a variety of preschool activities in a sampler. If you like, you can purchase the entire packet.

Thanks to John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, apple orchards were begun across the midwest and were valuable to families who were traveling west during the westward expansion.

Here are some stories of his life to read. With older students, you can pick out the information that is true and that which is fabricated. Create tall tales about Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny Appleseed

Here are some comprehension questions for the story.

What was Johnny Appleseed’s name?

When did he live?

What was his purpose in growing apple trees?  Do you think this was a good idea? Explain why you think it was or was not a good idea.

Write one detail from your reading that is not true.

Why did people make up details about him that were not true?

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A documentary for children to watch about the life of Johnny Appleseed would be great for children to take notes. The Story of Liberty

Watch the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed

Compare and contrast the two videos. You could use a T-Chart or a Venn Diagram (Boy! it was hard to find a printable of this, but I found one. yay!)

Have a great day!  ~Lisa~

* (urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/facts.cfm)

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

When I first saw the title of this book, Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas,  I thought maybe Elizabeth was an oceanliner. It turns out that she is actually a Southern Elephant Seal who makes her home in New Zealand.

This endearing story written by Lynne Cox is the true account of one particular Elephant Seal who didn’t live in the ocean, but rather in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch. She loved being in the city and stretching out on busy city streets to sun herself. Unfortunately for her, drivers didn’t know what to think of her and nearly had her tail run over! The people of the town were concerned for her and decided to remedy the situation. I won’t ruin the story for you, you’ll just have to check it out and read it to your son or daughter.

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Here are other activities to accompany the book:

Geography– Here is a FREE lapbook on Australia. It not only includes Geography, but reading and math as well.

Art- If you want to see some amazing origami this site has a walrus and a sea elephant. CLICK HERE How about a simple toilet paper craft of a seal for your youngster? CLICK HERE Here is a coloring sheet for your daughter to enjoy. Coloring Sheet

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Beach Chair Scientist.com

Are you interested in learning more facts about the Elephant Seal? Check this out: Elephant Seal Facts

Have fun!

~ Lisa ~

Recycling: Practical and Impactful

After I taught Earth Science for a couple of years I realized how wasteful I was with the resources I have been given. I wasn’t going out and deliberately doing so, but if I threw away items that could be recycled, drove my car when I could ride or bike to do some of my errands made me realize that I could have a small part in conserving what resources we do have.

Just think, there is only so much fresh water to go around and every time we order a drink and throw the cup in the trash with ice in it we take away some of that water, never to be recycled again since it ends up in the garbage. This may seem silly, but I actually throw my ice and water out into the bushes as I exit from a restaurant if I am personally responsible for disposing of my trash. 🙂  Wouldn’t it be great if we could teach our children to be mindful of what they are throwing away and finding ways to conserve what we do have so that they and their children can enjoy things as much as we have been able to do. With recycling in mind, did you know that Ikea is recycling old mattresses?

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Here are the details:

IKEA U.S. introduces national mattress recycling program

(Conshohocken, PA – October 2, 2017) IKEA U.S. announced today that in keeping with its sustainability strategy of ‘waste to resources’ it will be recycling all of its used mattresses. This includes old mattresses (any brand) that are picked up when new IKEA mattresses are delivered*, as well as all returned mattresses at IKEA stores. The goal is zero waste to landfill, with as much recycling as possible.

An estimated 18 million mattresses with box springs are disposed of in the U.S. each year, resulting in approximately 50,000 mattresses a day ending up in landfills across America. Some of these mattresses are illegally dumped adding to great landfill waste. IKEA understands mattresses need to be recycled to conserve resources such as steel, foam, and wood that is able to be used in new products.

At a minimum, 80% of a mattress can be recycled. The fabric and foam can be turned into carpet underlay and the felt and cotton can be recycled into new felt and insulation. The wood gets recycled into biofuel or other recycled wood products. While the plastic and steel is recycled by their respective recyclers or turned into new products.

In addition to the sustainability aspect of recycling mattresses, IKEA has also created a community donation program – a campaign called 5,000 Dreams – that focuses on supporting newly arrived refugee families in local IKEA store communities. Through three partner refugee organizations, IKEA has started to donate beds and bedding – 5,000 in total in the next two years – to refugee families who are making fresh starts with their families. The three established refugee organizations are the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, the International Rescue Committee and the Ethiopian Community Development Council.

The Baby App

Oh joy! I am going to be a grandma! 🙂 I am beyond excited and I can see that as I look for educational ideas to share with my daughter-in-law that I will naturally post ideas for you as well.

So, the first one I am sharing is called Baby Center. Not only is this a wonderful sight for parents-to-be, but it is also terrific for anyone else who is interested in the development of a little one. This can benefit the understanding of development for siblings, grandparents, and others.

If you are wanting to teach human growth and development to your middle or high school student this would be an invaluable tool. The development of the baby is described every week and his/her length and weight is given to you as well. If you are expecting this would be a terrific way to show your children the development of your baby to big brother(s) and sister(s).

Here are actual pictures of the development of the baby from week to week. The baby is compared to a fruit or vegetable as well, which I appreciate. It is hard to imagine what the baby’s size is, but  this website does a great job in giving you some perspective.

I hope this website will be a valuable resource to you.

~Lisa