Parents and select community members will have a very special dining opportunity next month. ESAA first- and second-graders are designing a restaurant for their current health unit.
“So far the children have chosen a menu, had a professional photographer photograph the food for advertising, and have learned about kitchen hygiene,” second-grade teacher Elizabeth Marzouki said. “They will price the food, learn about advertising, purchase the food, make invitations, practice roles needed for the restaurant, and practice public speaking before inviting the community.”
“They will also be designing an environment which is brain and body smart,” she continued. “They will draw proposals, present proposals, refine and revise their drawings, vote on a common idea and create that environment.”
The project involves extensive real-life applications such as reading, writing and researching. Doctors and nurses will visit the school to guide the students regarding nutrition and then will be among guests at the restaurant.
“There are no textbooks or guides,” Ms. Marzouki said of the children’s project-based learning. “The teachers teach reading and writing through the project. You can see all the math connections with money for the restaurant, purchasing and selling food, portion sizes, calories, exercise minutes and more.”
The children hope to open the restaurant by mid-March, and they plan to have it available for breakfast and lunch so that everyone has a chance to participate in the service portion of the project. The students are still trying to decide whether to charge just enough to break even on the food or whether to increase the cost of items so the profits can benefit those who are hungry.
Ms. Marzouki said the restaurant project exceeds both state and district standards for health and yet meets literacy and numeracy standards in a creative way.
“Sometimes students work independently and other times they collaborate,” Ms. Marzouki said, adding that the classroom teachers and specialist teachers also collaborate to assist students. “An emphasis at ESAA is 21st century skills, so we also use technology, collaboration, the arts, revision and reflection as ongoing strategies to help students learn throughout the unit.”