A science project involving chocolate is an easy way to entice students into learning something scientific, especially if there's the possibility of eating some chocolate in the process. The melting point of chocolate is of concern to those in the industry, as it's necessary to know how to manufacture a chocolate that melts easily in the mouth, but not too quickly on the shelf in a store.
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Shade and Sun Melting Point Project
This project explores the point at which different chocolate melts in the sun. Break up chocolate into small pieces of similar size. Using chocolate chips is also an option. Place a piece of chocolate on a paper plate and then leave it outside under a tree or any area that provides shade. Make a note of how much time passed before the chocolate melted. Then place a similar piece of chocolate in the full sun and note how long it takes to melt. Do this with white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate and compare the amount of time it took to melt each piece. Make note of which chocolate melted fastest.
Save the Chocolate Shop Project
Introduce students to this project by presenting them with a problem that they have to solve. The situation is as follows: there is an unprecedented heatwave in a small town and the local sweet shop has lost its power. Any chocolate that melts and then solidifies again, must be thrown away and the shopkeeper will lose money. The good news is that there is a small, battery operated fridge into which only about a hundred bars of chocolate can be placed. The problem is that there are five hundred bars of different types of chocolate. Help the shopkeeper decide which chocolate should be placed in the fridge by studying which chocolate will melt first and at what temperature. Provide students with samples of different types of chocolate, including white, dark and milk chocolate. Have them draw up a chart with instructions to the shopkeeper on how to save his chocolate. This might involve putting some chocolate in the fridge for a few minutes and then rotating with the chocolate bars in danger of melting next.
Melt in Your Mouth Project
Here is a science project that students will be begging to participate in. It will help them understand and learn about the concept of body temperature as well as study the temperature at which chocolate melts. Each student receives a square of white, milk and dark chocolate. Using a thermometer, students take their own temperature. Normal body temperature is 37.1 degrees Celsius. Explain that it is all right to be a degree higher or lower than that as the measure is an average which means that there will be some variation. Students then place a piece of chocolate in their mouths and record how long it takes for the different pieces to melt and then compare these rates to determine which type of chocolate melts quickest.
Dark Chocolate Project
These days, dark chocolate has become increasingly popular and the trend is for the percentage of cocoa to be written on the packaging. Provide students with three types of dark chocolate with varying percentages of cocoa. As in the previous experiment, leave the chocolate in the full sun on paper plates and make note of which chocolate melts first. This experiment can also be adapted to compare different brands of chocolate to see which melts the fastest.
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