With the students of IES San Andrés, concluded the activities of the “Chocolate Factory”, organized by the Faculty of Chemical Sciences and Technology of Ciudad Real, that allowed pre-university students to travel through science and technology and discover a role in the process of putting this product to the mouth. Students from the Centers of Manzanares, Villaquenas (Toledo), La Solana, Ciudad Real and Puertolano participated in the project and was so successful that the center will repeat the activity on 15 June for those who wish to participate individually.
Twenty students of IES «San Andrés» in Puertolano have closed the activities of the “chocolate factory” launched by the Faculty of Chemical Science and Technology of Ciudad Real to develop a multi-scientific and technical process that awakens careers among pre-university students of Castile and La Mancha. The activity involves traveling through science and technology through chocolate to discover, with the help of scientists and engineers, the role they play in the production of this delicious product, which is derived from cocoa.
In this activity, included in the Project Starting Research, students from IES Azuer, Manzanares; Enrique Arfe de Villacañas (Toledo); Modesto Navarro from La Solana; Tavora in Portolano and Santo Tomas in Ciudad Real.
From cocoa beans to chocolate
The Chocolate Factory project focuses on this product to accompany first- and second-year baccalaureate students and discover the role of each degree in this centre, from a group of Cocoa beans in the field until chocolate reach the mouth
“We use chocolate as a resource so that pre-university students understand the production process in an easy way through the different laboratories of the degrees of the College of Chemical Science and Technology,” explains Marianne Herrero, Vice Dean of Students for this college. This journey from separating cocoa butter and the effect of lecithin in the laboratory to engineering practice, where cocoa beans are sifted and dried, allows young people to discover the world of Science and the Technique, Through the role that both scientists and engineers play in the process, as well as the role that both mathematics and physics play, Herrero explains.
The success of the promoters of “Fábrica de chocolate” prompted them to plan not only to repeat it next year, but also on June 15, for first- and second-year baccalaureate students who were excluded in this activity, which takes place every Wednesday since last April 20. Those interested can register individually by contacting the Faculty of Chemistry for up to 20 people, as participants from each center did during the weeks that this activity lasted.
Separate the cocoa butter
Wednesday’s session began with practices in the lab, starting with the separation of cocoa butter, the effect of lecithin, and continuing the Maillard reaction (a group of chemical reactions between proteins and sugars in foods at high temperatures that generates their roasted colour, taste and aroma). Next, they continued to note the difference in the solubility energy of amorphous and crystalline substances and the content of phenolic compounds in cocoa. The morning concluded with engineering practices: sifting (separation of a solid according to its size and its extension for use), drying of cocoa beans and setting the speed. He concluded the day with a chocolate tasting visit (technological visit) where “young people learn what is good and what is not,” explains Herrero.
In this sense, the Vice Dean of Chemistry explains that the activity was a “good experience” as the “students came out very happy”; They “like it so much” for the opportunity to learn about the whole process of making chocolate from scratch. He concludes, “Chocolate helps us understand what we are doing.”