Sometimes it’s hard to get 9-year-olds excited about math. But the fourth graders at Hunter Elementary School were eager to learn about fractions on Thursday.
Sunny Lin and Sophia Woo – owners of Raleigh food truck Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck and winners of Food Network’s sixth season of “The Great Food Truck Race” – visited the students and explained how they use fractions every day.
The students listened closely as the pair described their dream to own a food truck, how they built it from scratch with friends and competed in the the television competition last year.
“Cooking is all about fractions,” Woo told her audience at the Raleigh magnet school as she described her secret dumpling recipe.
“Selling is also about fractions,” she said. “If 40 dumplings fit in one bag, and every dumpling order is eight dumplings, how many people can I feed with one bag?”
Hands shot into the air and a few students shouted, “Five!”
“It’s funny to see fourth graders so interested in food,” Linn said.
Students also learned how to create a budget for a food truck business and what fraction of the budget goes toward gas, labor, food and rental space.
Over the next month, Hunter Elementary fourth graders will create their own mock food trucks, complete with a menu and a budget.
“We wanted to find a way to get the kids hooked and to understand it’s something that’s applicable to every day life,” said teacher Sheila Kowalski.
With the rising popularity of food trucks and the Pho Nomenal Dumpling Truck’s national attention, Hunter teachers invited the owners to speak to their students.
“Math is very concrete to some, but we are trying to make it fun,” Kowalski said.
As an added bonus, students might get a visit from the food truck itself. Lin and Woo asked the students to join with them in collecting canned goods for Haven House, an organization that provides services to at-risk youth in Wake County.
Lin and Woo said the food truck will collect the cans from the school.
“If you’re more fortunate than others, you should build a larger table, not a taller wall,” Woo said.