West View 6th-graders use chocolate as currency to learn about culture of civilization
Chocolate was a main ingredient at the Aztec market in West View Elementary School last week.
Another was imagination.
For 76 sixth-graders, textbook lessons and other sources on Latin America's early civilizations transformed into a noisy, colorful Aztec marketplace where, instead of vendors selling wares for money, Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels served as currency. At some stops, trading was so hot, the money melted.
The event culminated a unit on Latin America in Megan Carey's classroom. A teacher in the district for 18 years, she created the project about a decade ago. Her goal was to bring learning to life.
“They get better and better. The kids take such ownership of the project,” said Carey of Ross, a North Hills alumnus.
For three weeks, students study Aztec culture and invent products that tie into it. They write compositions about their inventions, make paper ponchos decorated with Aztec symbols and create signage for their shops, which are set up on blankets in the school auditorium.
Then, with a little help from parents and siblings, they make or bake the items they will sell.
Because chocolate was such an Aztec delicacy, students peddled chocolate-covered strawberries and pretzels, chocolate-drizzled popcorn balls, brownies and cupcakes.
Kendra Richards, 11, offered chocolate-dipped fruit kabobs of strawberry, pineapple and banana. Her sister helped her skewer the fruit.
Maddie Frazier, 12, constructed edible chocolate temples, layered and hand decorated. She called her dessert stand CaCao Cupcake Heaven.
“The Aztecs had lots of temples,” she explained.
Green icing represented swamps on the edge of Aztec lands. Gold and green decorations called to mind the metal and jade that the culture offered to their gods.
Joey Veneziale, 12, crafted shields.
“It was really fun. It took me a while, but my parents helped,” he said.
Katlyn Imler, 11, marketed wooden plaques painted gold with Aztec symbols representing motion, a house, a knife and a deer, among others.
There were handmade maracas, baskets made of ice-pop sticks, dream-catchers, clay statues, fans, flutes, rain sticks, good-luck charms and lots of beaded bracelets and amulet necklaces.
Before market time was over, the temple cakes at Maddie's CaCao Cupcake Heaven sold out, and so did the 22 headdresses that Ethan Harkness, 11, created.
Each sold for 4 chocolate morsels.
“I'm surprised I sold out,” Ethan said of his construction-paper-and-feather design.
He was pleased, but said of the currency he collected in a plastic bag:
“I won't eat the money. It's been in tons of hands.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Touching Tribe boutique in Hampton sales benefit people from distant lands
- Pine-Richland to take a close look at future needs of athletic facilities, fields
- Shaler Area students join author’s chat via video conference
- Office building in Pine gets supervisors’ OK
- North Allegheny 7th best school in national ranking, moves up 2 spots
- Shaler woman named state coordinator of Action for Healthy Kids
- Guardian Protection in Marshall donates for My Bike Program
- Shaler woman gets top spot with group aimed at promoting kids health in school
- ‘Singin’ with Santa’ concert to ring in holidays at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Allison Park
- North Hills SADD chapter earns state honor