Fourth Graders Bring Food Trucks to Life: An Interdisciplinary Unit

On Friday, April 26, 2024, the fourth graders presented their food truck businesses to a room filled with students, teachers, administrators, and families who were eager to see their months of hard work pay off!

The focus of our social studies curriculum, the regions of the United States of America, served as a base for this interdisciplinary unit. Students were assigned a state at random and through the unit, they became entrepreneurs and experts on their respective states. 

Students were introduced to the research paper writing process, as they learned to gather information from a variety of reliable sources, synthesize it into an outline format, which culminated into a full research paper. In Library class, Mr. Laubscher introduced the students to paraphrasing and taking proper notes. They also learned to use Noodletools, a research aid website to assist with proper citation.

In order to provide the students with real world experience, the project was launched with a visit to Lu Taquería, located in Downtown Bethlehem, where the owner talked to them about her experience in starting a food truck, what they needed, and the transition to a brick and mortar location. As they began to brainstorm their own food truck business, they developed their signature dish that highlighted the local agriculture from their state.

In science, the students learned about nutrition through the “Great Grow Along” program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society of Biomedical Research. The students saw how diet choices can affect the development of living organisms, specifically rats. The rats help teach us that a balanced diet promotes optimum growth and development. These nutritional lessons impact the menu choices offered in the food truck project. Students then got the chance to practice their math skills as they learned about tax and quantities of ingredients needed to create their signature dish. They visited Wegmans to find ingredient prices and later learned how to use a spreadsheet in class with Mrs. Polefka to calculate prices and tax. 

Food Truck LogosA lesson in branding and marketing was next, as the students got a chance to learn from our own Director of Marketing and Communications, Stephanie Vasta. She went through the different aspects of marketing including meanings behind the logos, slogans, and even the importance of choosing colors. Students took this information and developed the logos for their food trucks. The logos above were designed by Mila Isaacman, Emery Taglioli, Sadashiv Joshi, and Mandela Nichols.

Armed with this knowledge and lessons from Mr. Wallace in Music class and Mrs. Polefka in Coding, students developed their own marketing campaign. To prepare them to compose their company jingles, Mr. Wallace introduced them to the tongue twister Betty Botter. Following an ABAC form, the 4th graders took the rhythm of Betty Botter and used it to compose a jingle for their food truck using Chrome Music Lab. You can hear Levi Wiedemann’s Jingle here.   

Levi Wiedemann’s Food Truck Jingle


In coding class, Mrs. Polefka used Scratch, a free online coding platform that promotes computational thinking and problem solving skills, and Canva, an online editor app for creating presentations. Fourth grade students were able to create lively, complex commercials to promote their food truck! The videos they created with Canva utilized creativity and ingenuity, and had music and images that evoked the food they researched from their chosen state. See Yiorgos Papacharalambous's and Yago Davies’s commercials below.

There was a lot of coding involved in their Scratch programs, which builds upon the coding they have been using since first grade. See Iris Cheng’s commercial created on Scratch below.


IMG_3164Our trip to the Hershey Story Museum finalized the branding and marketing section of the unit. Students took part in the Sweet Strategies program. They became immersed in the sweet business of selling chocolate in this hands-on, team-building class. First, teams used real ingredients to create a new chocolate product. Next, they designed the packaging and strategized a marketing campaign to sell their product. They also took part in the Hershey Quest where they discovered “Hershey” – the man, the town, and the business – through authentic artifacts and interactive technology.

IMG_1678Having finalized their marketing campaign, students worked at home to build 3D Models of their food trucks. They made sure to incorporate elements from their campaign such as colors, menus, and posters. They also incorporated elements that would showcase their state. Their creativity was impressive as they created some incredible food trucks! As the day to present their 3D Food Truck models came up, students practiced their presentations.  This culminating event allowed the students to showcase their weeks of hard work and their expertise on various topics. Students were able to share information about their state, the marketing materials, and how they used music, coding, and art to develop this project through an interdisciplinary lens. 


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