Family & Consumer Sciences, Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning in the Family and Consumer Sciences Classroom

While I’m currently teaching Physical Science, my greatest field of instructional experience is in Career and Technical Education, specifically, Family and Consumer Sciences. I called CTE and FACS home for 13 years. During that time, I taught everything from foods & nutrition to interior design to clothing construction to consumer education to parenting skills to careers in education. What a pleasure it was getting to have some serious conversations about life with my students and helping them to engage in real world activities that helped them to grow as individuals through the lessons that I taught.

Students collecting ingredients for a cooking lab. They always enjoyed a chance to cook, but they loved eating it even more!

Project-based learning opportunities in my FACS lab were plentiful and I always enjoyed the student engagement that these projects could evoke. I created one of my all-time favorite projects for my Food for Life class. While we were studying childhood nutrition, I introduced students to a project that would allow them to act as entrepreneurs and develop their own business plan for a restaurant that was family-friendly and that served healthier options for children. To this day, this remains my all-time, most favorite project and I still have former students tell me how much they enjoyed the learning opportunity and have carried fond memories of it with them after graduating.

Students designed this Oscar the Grouch veggie plate as their house specialty for their Restaurant Entrepreneurship Project. Ranch dressing creates the whites of his eyes.

Students worked in teams to develop a name, location and a theme for their restaurant. As a part of the business plan, they had to develop a marketing plan which included a website, as well as, a design plan for the interior and exterior of the restaurant. To promote healthy eating habits for children, each team had to create a menu with nutritional options listing nutritional facts. On the menu, they created a “house specialty” which they prepared and photographed. Finally, they had to present this restaurant business plan to the class.

A healthy house specialty with multi-grain grilled cheese and fruit kabobs created by one of my student teams for the Restaurant Entrepreneurship Project.
Photo credit: M. Patino

We had so many awesome and unique restaurants presented, but the one that stood out the most was “Mickey Mouse Diner House” which was inspired by the Disney mouse. Everything about this project was so well thought out down to the mouse-shaped whole wheat pancake and turkey sausages. A few weeks later, I asked these students to present the project during PBL night at our school where they presented to three community members in a “Shark Tank” format. The community members were blown away by the students’ work on the project and they were very impressed with the project assignment itself. I’d say that it was a success!

The house specialty for “Mickey Mouse Diner House.” Mouse-shaped whole-wheat pancakes with fruit bows, turkey sausage patties and scrambled eggs.

When I decided to start sharing my resources on Teachers Pay Teachers, I knew that this was the first project that I needed to make available. To access the Restaurant Entrepreneurship Project in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, simply click on the cover below. It is suitable for middle and high school students.  I look forward to being able to share more of my Family & Consumer Sciences projects with you, as well as, other projects and lessons for Business Education, Employability Skills and Science. So, keep following me to see what’s next!

The product cover for the Restaurant Entrepreneurship Project by Serina Gay of Mrs. Gay’s Classroom. Click on the cover to visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store and to find out more about the project.

Please note that Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Oscar the Grouch are all trademarked characters. No trademark infringement is intended.

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