Tiffany Haley, biology teacher at Delmarva Christian High School, is stepping out of the ordinary lecture to have her students work on a project-based unit in prokaryotes. The project is called Food Trucks and Food Poisoning. Students worked to develop a food truck concept, logo, menu and a cleanup method that would reduce bacterial contamination.
"Students have a hard time grasping science. The whole premise of project-based learning is making science relatable and easy to discover in their everyday lives," said Haley. "The students came up with the idea of food poisoning, and I decided a food truck would be more exciting than a restaurant."
To show students how a successful food truck is run, Zoggs brought its food truck, The Sea Hogg, to the school. After lunch was served, Haley's biology students asked questions and took a tour of the food truck. "The food truck coming to the school was not the main purpose of the unit, but important for the students to see what they were trying to create. The majority of the students used some of the same concepts," said Haley.
At the start of the prokaryotes unit, students were divided into groups and decided on an ethnicity to represent for their own food truck. The students were required to select four different food items and at least one way to prevent food poisoning based on the foods they were offering. The students then had to present to local food and beverage business professionals and Haley. They were graded on their logo design, menu, cleanup method and presentation skills.
Community members played an essential role in this project. Delmarva Christian Schools Director of Development Justin Savini worked with individuals affiliated with Chick-fil-A Rehoboth, Patty's Deli, Blue Water Grill, SoDel Concepts, Marilyn's Catering, Pickled Pig Pub, and Delaware Health and Social Services Division of Public Health to ensure the students were given exposure to business professionals during their presentations.
Haley said, "Bringing the community in gave the students an opportunity for a more realistic experience, balanced grade and plenty of feedback they could learn from."
The project-based unit also gave the students extra responsibility in their learning. With this hands-on approach, students came to understand methods used as they conducted mini laboratory projects. Two of the most effective labs were the monitoring of salt intake and effects on their cells, as well as growth of bacteria based on cleaning products and temperature.
"One thing I've learned is a chaotic classroom is OK, as long as it's a productive one," said Haley.
Delmarva Christian Schools is a nondenominational Christian school providing an excellent Christian education to students throughout the region. The mission is to proclaim the gospel by preparing students spiritually, academically and physically to know and do God's will in their lives. For more information, call 302-856-4040 or go to www.delmarvachristian.com.