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JANUARY 3, 2011


"The History of Chocolate:
     Chocolate in the American Colonies"

To trace the history of cocoa and chocolate is to embark on a journey. Few foods have such a rich social and economic history, one that extends from ancient times to modern manufacturing techniques. This piece by Rodney Snyder of American Heritage Chocolate explores chocolate's history from early North America to the present day.

Primary Source of the Month

Reproduction Chocolate Pot
Reproduction Chocolate Pot, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Chocolate in the eighteenth century was commonly consumed as a hot drink served from a vessel called a chocolate pot. Usually, the only difference between a chocolate pot and a coffee pot from this period is the presence of a stirring rod. This rod, commonly called a "chocolate mill," fits down through a circular hole in the top of the lid.

The Amazing Trade Shop Science Race! EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is The Amazing Trade Shop Science Race!
January 13, 2011

New! Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg

Teaching News

Virtual Republic Launched

Want to discuss current events in your classroom in an organized and informed way? Check out Colonial Williamsburg and Pearson's new Virtual Republic site. Explore current events using news videos, articles, and broadcasts from all perspectives and around the world. Then, debate the issues on our forum with your own class or classes across the country.

Webonauts Internet Academy

What better way to learn about internet safety than through a fun web game? PBS has a new free interactive game designed to teach kids about online privacy, how to deal with bullying and how to distinguish credible sources online. The site also provides parents and teachers with helpful supporting information, including tips for kids' internet use from Common Sense Media.

December Podcasts
January Podcasts
01/03: From Head to Toe
01/10: The Amazing Trade Shop Science Race
01/17: A Southern Accent
01/24: Pocohontas' Vows
01/31: The Technology of Tea

The Idea of America
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.


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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers


PSCU Financial Services Logo

2010–2011 Electronic Field Trip Scholarships


Teaching Strategy: Chocolate in the Eighteenth Century

A truly international food, eighteenth-century chocolate required a variety of imported ingredients. In this lesson, students will learn about the history of chocolate, the chocolate-making process that was used in the colonial era, and the trade of raw materials that brought chocolate to the colonies. Students will create foldables containing an eighteenth-century map, facts about chocolate, and their own illustrations to further their understanding of the history, science, and economics behind chocolate in the American colonies.

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2010–2011 Teaching Resources Catalog

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality instructional materials about 18th-century life, including:

  • The Eye of the Beholder (Lesson Unit)

  • Recipes from the Raleigh Tavern Bake Shop (Cookbook)

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun
Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning, preK–12
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

Quotation of the Month

"...whereas chocolate seasoned with vanilla and other sour, spicy ingredients can sometimes be dangerous, especially during the summer for the young and for those with vivacious, dry constitutions. The glass of cool water that one usually drinks before or after the chocolate can only temporarily alleviate the fire that it ignites in the blood and the entrails, once the soothing water has passed along."

Denis Diderot, "Chocolat," Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, 3:359-360 (Paris, 1753). Translated by Philippe Bonin. Ann Arbor: Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library, 2005.

The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

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