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Food Network Judges Cherokee Food Truck Projects

Food Network Judges Cherokee Food Truck Projects

You know a sixth-grade project about food trucks was a success when you impress guest judges who just happen to be from the Food Network.

After evaluating a cafeteria full of food truck concepts, the judges remarked about the thoroughness of the Cherokee Elementary students’ work as well as their creativity (which was beyond what they often see from adults who are trying to start food truck businesses)!

“I was blown away with the projects and loved seeing the passion that the students put into their work,” said Cherokee teacher Erin Moeng. “They supported each other, celebrated with each other, and most importantly had fun with their learning. They forgot it was school and looked at it as a fun challenge.”

She added, “Students saw real world application to concepts that they were learning in their core subject areas which made their learning more meaningful to them. This played a huge role into their engagement and investment in the project.”

Students chose a food truck concept (such as Heavenly Ice Cream, The Dancing Shrimp and Breakfast Boys) and then developed an entire business plan that included a model truck, menus, pricing, equipment and food costs, and marketing such as logos and business cards.

Students overwhelming loved the creativity of the project; the Weenies on Wheels team even made their own crocheted hot dog hats!

The project touched on curricular standards across many subject areas. The sixth graders had to write proposals for budgets and marketing plans that were tied to ELA persuasive writing standards. Math standards about proportions, fractions and equations were used to figure out food costs, menu pricing and profits. Students also learned valuable lessons about supply and demand tied to social studies standards.

The learning didn’t stop there though. Students practiced real-world skills like how to problem solve, work collaboratively with peers, and how to handle disagreements and conflicts in a meaningful and constructive way.

There were dozens and dozens of food trucks displayed in the Cherokee cafeteria on judging day, and some real food trucks visited the school that day as well. The local food trucks volunteered to come to the school to support the students and give them an opportunity to see what a real-life food truck was like. This allowed students to reflect on their own work and improve on their plans. 

The four judges from The Food Network were also ‘all in’ to support student learning. Moeng happens to know a local chef from Kentucky who is a recurring contestant on the Food Network. When she approached him about the food truck project, he was excited to put together a group of judges who could help educate the students about the food industry.

It was a close competition, but the winning food truck concept was Heavenly Ice Cream.

“My heart was so full seeing the projects on display,” said Moeng. “The students went well beyond our expectations. Our goal is for this to be an activity we do each year -- especially after seeing the investment that the students put into it and how engaged they were.”