Chocolate: The New Health Food Mark as Favorite (9 Favorites)

LESSON PLAN in Molecular Formula, Functional Groups. Last updated June 05, 2017.

Grade Level

High school

Connections to Chemistry Concepts

  • Interpretation of organic structures—Review the writing of organic structures, two different types are present in the article.
  • Organic nomenclature—Discuss the important of suffixes in determining the functional groups that make up organic molecules.
  • Free radicals—Explain the importance of unpaired electrons in accelerating the rate of chemical reactions.
  • Saturated vs. unsaturated molecules—Discuss the structure of saturated molecules (no carbon double bonds) and unsaturated molecules (those with at least one carbon double bond).
  • Oxidation and reduction—Review oxidation as involving the loss of electrons and reduction the gain of electrons.

For the Student

Worksheet: What Do We Know About Chocolate?


Part 1 (10-15 minutes)

Before reading, in the first column, write “A” or “D” indicating your agreement or disagreement with each statement. After making a decision about each statement compare answers with the person sitting next to you and discuss the reasons you have for differences in your choices.

Part 2 (20-25 minutes)

As you read the article, compare your opinions with information from the article. In the space under each statement, write a statement from the article that supports or refutes your original ideas. Now compare notes again with a classmate. Do you agree?


1. Chocolate contains stimulants similar to those found in coffee.

2. A chemical that makes us feel “blissful” and is produced naturally by the brain, is also found in chocolate.

3. Scientists have found that antioxidant chemicals in chocolate can protect against heart disease.

4. Chocolate causes acne.

5. Chocolate comes from seeds that grow underground.

6. Cocoa butter is produced from the oils of the cocoa bean.

7. The fats in cocoa butter increase blood cholesterol.

8. Natural cocoa has fewer antioxidants than chocolate syrup.

9. Milk chocolate is healthier than dark chocolate.

10. The fewer the additives, the less nutritious the chocolate.
11. Beneficial compounds in chocolate are also found in tea, wine and nuts.

12. This article may change my views on chocolate.

Further Exploration

Talking Points For Follow Up Class Discussion (10-15 minutes).
Touch base with students on the assignment they completed when you were out.

  1. Where do cocoa beans grow?
  2. Can students describe the path from tree to chocolate bar?
  3. What kind of health benefits are claimed for chocolate? What is the evidence for these benefits? How were the studies done?
  4. On the other hand, why might chocolate not be good for you?
  5. What are some differences among different types of chocolate (baking chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate)?
  6. Did reading the article change their views on chocolate? Did they learn something new? Would you like to share your ideas with the class?

Possible Discussion Questions for Relating Article to Chemistry Concepts (15-20 minutes)
These would be appropriate for a teacher-led discussion to link the article to the chemistry curriculum after students read the article.

  1. Ask for an example from the article that shows how chemical structure affects chemical function.
  2. Can students describe the role of antioxidants in terms of electron transfer?
  3. What effects in terms of molecular structure of the chemicals in the cocoa beans might be caused by drying or roasting?
  4. Chemically speaking, why do oils and fats have so many calories?

More information can also be found on the ChemMatters website.