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Jefferson JUMP Students Create Food Trucks This Summer

Jumping Through The Summer

Jefferson JUMP students set up their “food trucks” in front of the school to “sell” their mini pies and gourmet hot chocolate using play money. Students spent the summer creating their own food trucks by using ELA, math, social studies and science in real-life applications to build their businesses.

The smell of sweet treats filled the air in front of Jefferson Middle School at the end of the summer thanks to the efforts of Jefferson JUMP students who created two “food trucks” as part of a summer project-based learning unit.

The students created Pastry’s Pies and Two Sides “selling” homemade mini pies and gourmet hot chocolate to members of the administration building, Jefferson staff and invited community members using play money.

“We wanted students to be actively engaged in learning, as well as making it fun,” said Jefferson teacher Tara Mammoser. “Kids love anything involving food! We are so proud. They worked so hard all summer using all the subject areas: social studies, ELA, math and science. They also learned important life skills that we don’t always get to teach during the school year.”

Students started out by learning about the history of food trucks; and how the mobile food industry has evolved over time; going back to chuck wagons of the Old West and dining cars on the railroads. Students researched the current food truck business and how it provides a service to a community.

For ELA, they related what they had studied and to local, current issues going on in Jamestown. They read an article in The Post-Journal, “Little Appetite in City Food Truck Program” and discussed why there has been low interest in operating a food truck in the city. They also talked about the recent committee formed to look at the city’s pilot food truck program. Students then created business models for their food trucks, designed logos, brainstormed names, wrote product descriptions and determined prices for their items including what the profit/loss would be.

“I think it’s a great learning experience,” said student Aracelli DiNapoli. “It teaches us how to work with money and customer service.”

Students also made their menu items in the Family and Consumer Science kitchen using measurement and talking about chemistry in cooking. Before making their final products, students practiced making recipes and calculating how to increase quantities.

The students designed their “food trucks” using cardboard donated by Jamestown Container and with the help of artist/college student Raylynn Digirolamo, who also helped bring the students’ designs on their food truck t-shirts to life.

“I really like designing the food trucks,” said student Izzy Melendez. “It was fun to work as a team to create a name and determine the design for our business to catch people’s attention.”

The teachers brought in two local food trucks so students could see and learn firsthand how a food truck is operated, ask questions and make real word connections to what they were learning in the classroom. JPS teachers, Aaron and Carrie Jessey, brought their Ace Kettle Corn food truck and Jade Rivera brought her truck, Foodies Sweets & Treats. Each brought free treats for the kids to sample too.

The teachers would like to grow the program next year, including field trips to visit other food trucks that have stationary set ups and possibly visit food trucks festivals.

“I would like to include the other middle schools, envisioning a JPS ‘Food Truck Fair’ organized by the students, that could possibly be held at Strider Field,” said teacher Victoria Rishell.

In addition to the food truck project, Jefferson science teachers, Sebastian DiNapoli and Clint Apthorpe also focused on science experiments to incorporate more science enrichment in the summer program.

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