Summer Explorers

The Askinosie Chocolate University Summer Explorers are finding inspiration through the lens of artisan chocolate making to become global citizens and to embrace the idea that businesses can solve world problems. Through project based learning, students reboot the Askinosie Factory Tour, make delicious chocolate treats, create a new product concept and marketing plan, simulate the lives of cocoa farmers and create personal visions for their futures. Classroom time is interspersed with 6 visits to our small batch chocolate factory.

Week one focus is helps the students get acquainted with the unique elements of the Askinosie business model through lessons on cocoa history, direct trade and profit sharing with farmers. After a VIP tour of the factory and cocoa bean storage location, students enjoyed a Chocolate 101 tasting and began to appreciate the different flavors in chocolate. Students then take the reins to rewrite the Askinosie Factory Tour catered to specific real-world audiences and present  their work to a team from the company for a chocolatey award.

“The students’ factory tour presentations this week blew right past my expectations – the topics were relevant for the assigned audience and the presentations were articulate, thoughtful and super creative. We will certainly incorporate some of these ideas to make our factory tours even more fun and meaningful”  – Missy Gelner

Week two of the program focuses on corporate identity and product marketing. Students learn about brand identity, product innovation and development, product marketing and packaging. Each student explorers creates a corporate identity and new chocolate product concept. Explorers present their ideas and product mock ups to the class and company representatives. Ideas are voted upon by peers and top scoring concepts are awarded with chocolate prizes.

In the third week, the curriculum deepens understanding of the direct trade concept as the students participate in a cocoa farmer simulation game to personalize the realities of the a cocoa farmers daily life and business decisions. During this week, student explorers are offered the opportunity to virtually converse with an Askinosie farmer in Davao, Philippines, and will spend a day with an Askinosie field representative that works closely with our farmer partners in Tanzania.

Week four introduces circles back to the ideas of fulfillment and doing good which differentiate Askinosie from many other small batch chocolate makers. Students explore the concept of personal vision and goal setting. Students learn that a personal vision is hope + a plan and are led through a detailed, step by step approach to write their own vision including reflection, goal setting and planning for their future of greatness.

Askinosie Commitment:

The Askinosie Chocolate team is truly dedicated to our Chocolate University mission – “to inspire students to become global citizens and understand that businesses can solve world problems” – throughout the year.  While we partner with students at Boyd and Pipkin during the school year, we see the daily 2-3 hour curriculum through the SPS Summer Explore program as a unique opportunity to share our approach to business and information about our chocolate origin communities. The Chocolate University Summer Explore students are super engaged and excited to learn about chocolate making, our business models and the global reach of Askinosie.

“Askinosie Chocolate is happy to extend our relationship with the Springfield Public Schools into this new Summer Explore thematic format. The daily class schedule, unique factory environment and project based format offers an engaging  learning experience. We are happy to open our doors to each of the students.”

Julia Armstrong:

We are forever thankful to our faculty partner, Julia Armstrong, as she champions the Chocolate University program at Pipkin Middle School during the academic year. She also has taken the lead to create the Chocolate University Summer Explore offering and serves as the SPS teacher managing the class and coordinating with representatives from Askinosie.   


“I think that the cocoa simulation was very helpful to me as a person because it helped me learn how a farmer feels when they are paid for their cocoa beans.  Being put into their shoes helped me to see the view of someone from a different place in the world. The Packaging Project also gave me a tiny glimpse into how difficult it is to start a business.”

“I loved when we got to connect with the cocoa farmers.  We had the chance to send them questions and the responses were so personal that it felt like they were in the room with us, just chatting! I really enjoyed learning about how a small company like Askinosie can connect with others around the world and help change their lives.”

“My time in CU was AMAZING!  It was so fun because I was wanting to take a class that was something new and different and this was the class!  I truly enjoyed it and learning about direct trade and the chocolate making process!”

“I had an amazing summer learning about cocoa farms, the process of making chocolate, a little bit about creating a product and about Askinosie Chocolate.  Our field trips were really important to help us see the business up close and going to the fruit orchard was helpful to give us an idea of how farms can be run.”

“This summer was really fun.  I always enjoyed coming to EXPLORE because I knew I was going to Chocolate University class and Ms. Armstrong, Missy and Emma made it the best summer ever!”