School projects that allow students to use their creativity are more interesting to them and may even distract them from the fact that they are doing some serious learning. Restaurant menus are something that almost every student has familiarity with in their daily lives and thus make a great project base for a variety of subject matters.
Computer Software Lessons
Technology or computer lab teachers can assign a restaurant menu project as a way for students to learn and become familiar with publishing software products, such as Office Publisher. Ask students to choose whatever cuisine they want and then design a restaurant menu. Show them how to insert and move pictures and clip art, how to create headings and change font and font sizes, how to insert shapes, create lines and other design elements, then have your students use these new skills to create their menus.
Ask students to create a restaurant menu that incorporates the five nutrition groups. Ask them to separate their menu into appetizer, breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert categories. Tell the students they must include menu items that will provide their diners with each of the five food groups: dairy, vegetables and fruits, protein (meats, beans and nuts), starches (bread, rice, pasta and cereals) and fats and sugars. Have the children label each menu item with the food groups it includes. Ask older students to select meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner from their menu that will give a diner a complete daily serving of each food group.
Foreign Language Lessons
Have students that are learning a foreign language create a menu using it. Depending on the age or grade level of the students, the menu can be very simple or be much more descriptive. For more advanced language classes, pair up two students and have one be a waiter and the other a diner and have them act out a restaurant scene in the foreign language they are learning with the menu they have created. Have students order and also ask and answer questions about the menu items in the foreign language.
For a social studies project, have students create a menu featuring popular dishes from a country you are studying. For example, if they are learning about China, ask students to research and find out what would typically be served in a restaurant in that country and then ask them to make a menu featuring those items. Have your students present their menus and describe how they are similar or different from what they thought they would contain. If possible, ask students to find out the cost of a meal in the country they have picked and contrast that with how much you would have to spend on similar fare in the United States.
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