Chocolate science is a motivator

Colorado students are studying the chemistry and biology of chocolate — including determining the DNA fingerprints of different cacao beans — at a summer camp hosted by the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Most are entering eighth or ninth grade.

Chocolate was the key ingredient in labs and work sessions that covered forensics, thin-film chromatography, spectroscopy, DNA fingerprinting, robotics and cyber sleuthing.

. . . Students used tools such as microscopes and liquid chromatography equipment in situations that many college students don’t handle until a few years into their coursework.

“The Case of the Recipe Rip-off” focused on solving the fictional disappearance of a prized chocolate recipe. The story including feuding companies, counterfeit candy and even a murder.

Students enjoyed field trips to Patsy’s Candies and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. When I was in school, our only science field trip was to Volo Bog. No wonder I ended up as an English major.

The Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education designed the program with the chemistry and biology departments, and the UCCS Center for Homeland Security, reports The Gazette. Homeland Security? Are the terrorists trying to contaminate our chocolate?

About Joanne


  1. This is more about piquing students interest than about learning science. Not to say that it’s not a good thing; it certainly is. And, Joanne, I LOVED the Volo Bog.
    Each to her/his own.

  2. UCCS has a very nice location overlooking Colorado Springs, and if students are staying in the dorms there, it’s just far enough *away* from anything to keep them out of trouble. In other words, a cool program in an ideal location!