Connecting with our local community has always been something that I've valued as an educator, but have never been great at. I have no doubt that bringing professionals from our local restaurant industry into the classroom to share their experience and expertise is a surefire way to make learning relevant. However, the reality is it takes time and a lot of coordination to make it happen.
As I was thinking about our Amazing Food Truck Race that is just beginning, I knew I wanted to be more intentional about involving our local food trucks to make this experience as meaningful and relevant as possible. The problem is, food truck hours and my work schedule don't mesh well and I have a hard time finding the time to connect with them all. Then, the lightbulb turned on for me....how about I make it an Adventure Quest and involve my students in connecting with our local food trucks!
I created postcards that explained our Amazing Food Truck Race and invited them to come judge and/or share their business expertise with us. . I wrote a local food truck name on each one and than gave 4 to each team to hand deliver. Here is where the Adventure Quest came in! For each card they delivered and documented with a picture posted to Google Classroom, they would earn 1 extra ingredient for their signature dish they would be launching to investors. To make sure students were truly making the connection meaningful and not just dropping off the cards and running, I gave an additional bonus ingredient for every call I received from a food truck as a result of their visit.
This Adventure Quest was the answer to a solution that has always been so difficult to remedy! It was a stretch for some of my students to venture out of their comfort zones to make the contacts, but knowing that they could go as a team to these businesses made all the difference and gave them the confidence they needed. They also quickly realized how valuable these connections can be. One food truck that a team visited was so impressed with their food truck concept, that he gave them some special tips on meat selection and marinade! I introduced this Adventure Quest less than a week ago and I already am getting calls from local food trucks that are excited to be involved. One food truck owner was so intrigued and excited, that he not only wants to judge, but he wants to bring his food truck onto campus and teach our students some tricks of the trade!
This is the perfect example of how the gamified class is always evolving. There are so many opportunities to bring in new game mechanics and add twists and turns to keep students engaged, immersed, and on their toes! Continue to find ways to make learning relevant, meaningful, and an experience that students will never forget!
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!