Europeans love chocolate – we eat over half the world’s supply! The bad news is that we are eating more cocoa than can be produced and soon chocolate may become a rare and precious commodity as farmers struggle to meet demand. In this activity students apply their knowledge of pollination to discuss why cocoa yields on a plantation are decreasing. They then find out who funds scientific research by taking roles in a funding meeting – can they work out a deal where all parties will benefit?
In this lesson students will analyse a science issue using:
- Ecosystem: why insect pollination is important in producing our food
- Science in society: understand who funds scientific research
Try the activity
England National Curriculum KS3:
- Experimental skills and investigation: ask questions and develop a line of enquiry based on observations of the real world, alongside prior knowledge and experience
- Biology: Relationships in an ecosystem: the importance of plant reproduction through insect pollination in human food security
Running the activity
Starter The news story is presented: people are eating more chocolate than can be produced and soon it could run out
Main Students apply their knowledge about pollination to solve the problem of decreasing cocoa yields. They role-play a funding meeting
Plenary Class discussion on who funds scientific research and why.
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.
News story on why chocolate supplies are running low.
Background reading for teachers. The real research project that the one in the activity was based on.
You can use this video to show the students how cocoa is harvested. The section 3:02-3:44 is suitable. If you have time, your students may enjoy watching the rest of the video which shows cocoa farmers tasting chocolate for the first time.