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The High School Food Court
Source: Buck Institute of Education | Type: Lesson

Students must decide which restaurants to choose for a new food court and make an oral presentation to a school board. The High School Food Court unit presents students with straightforward demand and cost issues with political considerations as well. Put in your shopping basket and check out for the free download. This is a book of 65 pages.




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Excellent introduction to basic economic concepts    June 15, 2009
By: Lee, M
The High School Food Court created by the Buck Institute is an excellent introduction to the basic economic concepts students need to know. This lesson follows the same problems-based learning (PBL) approach used by BIE's other free lessons; and the Food court is one of the best.

This lesson is best to teach Marginal Cost/Choices and Price and Quantity Determination.

Use In Classroom
The Food Court can be used to teach all of the standards listed, but it can also be expanded upon. I like how BIE has build in enough flexibility to allow for teachers to expand upon the benchmark lessons. The concept of PBL works very well with economics and this lesson in particular. The subject matter (high school food) is something that all students can relate to and have experienced.

The lesson also provides ample places to infuse technology into it. Students can demonstrate proficiency using spreadsheets while analyzing cost data and constructing cost graphs.

This lesson is very easy for the teacher to implement. All of the required materials are included in the PDF. You provide your own benchmark lessons (use what you already do) and you have your lesson ready to go!

There are not many drawbacks to this lesson but their are some you should be aware of:

The names of each of the Restaurants can sometimes be distracting to students because of their slightly comic sounding names (very minor problem)

The time required by the lesson is understated. BIE claims it can be completed in 1 week, or 5 lessons. I think that in order to legitimately complete the activity you should be prepared to devote at least double the amount of time.

The provided rubrics for presentation assessment might not be valid for how you grade student work requiring more teacher prep time to modify.

Lastly, as with all BIE lessons, it works best if you have cooperation from other teachers and/or the community to come in and participate in the final presentation.

This is a very well put together lesson that would be worth implementing into your curriculum. All of the drawbacks can be fixed with a little teacher prep before implementation. Overall--Great lesson!

Bringing Economics To Life!    July 30, 2011
By: Hillgrove, D
I found the lesson to be particularly intriguing and an exemplary method for engaging students in the framework of Economics.
I would begin with an intense survey about fast food, restaurant choices, restaurant preferences, and nutrition questions. That would provide a baseline for opinions which may well be used later.

Then, moving the PBL collaborative model into high gear, when the groups are divided up, it is possible to rank the groups by their competing with other groups on topics of Economics. This can come in handy, as teams cannot complain about "being fair" if they've answered questions poorly.

It seems to me that there can be two methods of dividing the class: group choice and random. Not important either way, but fun to play with as the teacher.

Let the class go nuts with their discussion, debates and arguing. These are topics close to their heart. They probably know more than we do about some of this. Enjoy the chatter, abuzz with energy. Engage their Government/Civics teacher in this and have them cover some municipalities law and FDA regs, etc.

At some point, there will be groups who need a little prodding, so throw in some fun twists. Whenever someone mentions one of the vocabulary terms listed on the lesson plan . . . ring a bell or bang a drum or play a sound byte on your computer, and assign that group the pleasure of making one of the other groups research the fast food corporation that is being defended. Have them look up the headquarters, and the company history, and the stock price (over 12 mos and 5 years), and the other products that the parent company may produce . . . etc.

Take advantage of students' artistic skills by having some groups draw the mall's floor plan, both birds-eye-view and head-on-view. Invite a group to write a jingle or a song about the new restaurant in the mall. Have one group provide the class with an advertising campaign. Create a newer logo and tagline. Enjoy the creativity.

However, the meat-and-potatoes of the lesson IS the lesson itself, and it IS the most fun. This will be a student-directed, teacher-facilitated lesson, and it should be noisy as it should be enjoyable. Let your own hair down a little bit and let kids let loose a little bit as they discuss economics on their own level!

DAVE Hillgrove