Activity details

Christmas is an exciting time full of fun, family and friends. This lesson allows children to explore the meaning behind giving gifts and how to make more sustainable choices during the holiday period. With adult support, each child will make and decorate a chocolate lollipop to take home with them, presented in recycled gift-wrapping.

Objectives and curriculum links

This lesson enables pupils to:

  • consider what makes something a thoughtful gift to give to someone that is close to them
  • begin to think about where our gifts and gift wrapping come from and discuss more ethical options
  • design their own gift wrapping by re-using materials that might have been thrown away

We've designed the lesson to help teachers cover the following subject areas:

KS2 Design and Technology:

  • use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose, aimed at particular individuals or groups
  • select from and use a range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks accurately
  • select and use a wide range of materials and components, including textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities

KS2 English: Developing their knowledge and skills in reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects.

Resources

To make the chocolate lollipops you will need:

  • hob to melt the chocolate
  • saucepan
  • heatproof glass bowl
  • mixing spoon
  • fairtrade chocolate
  • baking paper
  • Blu Tack
  • lollipop sticks or straws
  • edible cake decorations/small sweets

To make the recycled gift wrap:

  • scissors
  • Sellotape
  • hole punch
  • old Christmas cards or wrapping paper
  • scrap materials from the store cupboard
  • old magazines and boxes

Lesson plan

Getting started (0-10 minutes)

Start off the lesson as a circle time (or at tables if you prefer) to discuss the act of giving a gift. Christmas is a special time where we share presents with friends and family, but can the children explain why we do this? The lesson is focused on more thoughtful gift giving; can the children remember a gift they thought was really thoughtful and special? Allow the class time to share their ideas and why their gift was special to them. Finally, as a class, think of reasons why a gift is thoughtful. For example: hand-made, unique, personal, considerate or suitable.

Making a gift (10-30 minutes)

All the children are going to make a hand-made gift for someone that they care about. Each child will make and decorate a chocolate lollipop to take home with them. The teacher can demonstrate melting the chocolate at the front of the class if it is feasible, or the chocolate could be melted prior to the session. Once the children have their share of the chocolate, they can use the instructions hand-out to make their lollipop independently in their own time. You can talk about food safety and hand-washing with the children too.

If using a double-boiler or bain marie to melt the chocolate, choose a saucepan with a diameter a bit smaller than the glass bowl you’re melting the chocolate in. You want to make sure that the bowl can sit securely on top of the saucepan but, crucially, doesn't come into contact with the water at any point. You can also melt chocolate in a microwave, but you can’t really see the progress of the melting, so go slowly – i.e. use a low heat setting and microwave in 20-second blasts so you can avoid burning the chocolate.

Reflection (30–35 minutes)

Did anybody notice that their lollipops were made using Fairtrade chocolate? Does anybody know what that means? How does this link to the theme of thoughtful gift giving? You could take this opportunity to further explore where gifts come from and how some options could be a more ethical choice.

Make the packaging (35-75 minutes)

Using the PowerPoint, explain to the class how much waste is created at Christmas time in particular. Give the children opportunity to discuss ideas with a partner about how we could be more thoughtful towards the planet at Christmas time. Share suggestions as a class about how we can reduce waste at Christmas and perhaps how things can be re-used or recycled. There are further ideas on the PowerPoint that could be shared with the class.

The next practical challenge for the children is to design a form of gift wrap for their chocolate lollipop. They can use any of the scrap materials available (re-using) including old Christmas cards (recycling) in order to reduce any waste. Make sure that the lollies are wrapped in baking paper before the children add their own gift-wrapping.

Plenary (75-90 minutes) 

The children can share the gift wrap that they have designed, complete with their chocolate lollipop. The children can explain what materials they used to create their gift wrap and the processes needed to make it. As a closing question to the lesson you could ask the children to think back and suggest three ways they have been thoughtful during the lesson.

Useful links:

Health and Safety thoughts and tips

Assuming you do cooking and craft activities in your school, there’s nothing out of the ordinary in this session.  Make sure you’ve consulted (or written) the risk assessments for handling food and cooking in your school, and that they work for your situation and your children.

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