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Lesson Plan #: AELP-OHE0200
Submitted by: Paula West
Email: pwest@east.rchlnd.k12.il.us
School/University/Affiliation: East Richland High School, Olney, Illinois

Date: November 7, 2000

Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12, Vocational Education


  • Vocational Education/Occupational Home Economics

Duration: Four 50-minute sessions

Description: Students plan and implement a theme party. 

Goals: To show students first-hand what is required to pull off a successful party. To demonstrate good use of time, money, and resources.


  • Students will be able to plan and complete preparations for a theme party.
  • Students will be able to budget materials needed for the theme party.
  • Materials:

    • food needed for the theme party
    • cooking utensils
    • tables and chairs
    • tableware
    • party decorations
    • invitations
    • menus

    Day 1:
    Allow students to work in groups to develop a  theme. Some themes that have worked well include: child’s birthday party (cake, finger foods, punch); Mexican night (taco casserole, chips, salsa, fried ice cream); western (BBQ, baked beans, small cakes baked in soup cans); Italian cafe (spaghetti, breadsticks, sparkling grape juice); back to school (cake decorated like a bus, sandwiches in brown bags, juice boxes); and Valentine’s Day (heart pizza, heart cookies).

    Students need to create a shopping list for the items that are needed. Students cannot spend more than $3.05 per person. They must price out all of the ingredients. If they use 1 teaspoon of salt, for example, they must calculate what 1 teaspoon costs. If students do not want to price some items, they can use the prices set up by the teacher. For instance, the teacher might set a price of 5 cents for a teaspoon of salt. In this case, it is much cheaper to do the math, since a teaspoon of salt is less than 1 cent. Students might want to look at sale flyers to determine the cost of ingredients, or the teacher can have a list of prices prepared ahead of time.

    Day 2:
    The second day, students go to a local grocery store to purchase the food. If time allows, students can begin preparations for the next day.

    Day 3:
    Students start preparing the meals. Students should also try to get all of the last minute details taken care of (such as menus and decorations). Students need to work cooperatively in their groups to ensure success. Invitations are sent to teachers, administrators, and support staff that are free that period to come to the party. (They love this!)

    Day 4:
    Students have 30 minutes to finish or re-heat the food prepared from the day before. Students also prepare the room. They must have place settings for four people at a table (or more depending on the types of tables you have). Menus should be available at each table. When guests begin to arrive, students must greet them and welcome them to the party. Students take the guests’ orders and serve the meals. The guests are to evaluate the use of theme, time, and decor. They are instructed to ask questions of the host/hostesses.

    Assessment: Each guest is given an evaluation sheet. On this sheet, guests are to indicate what they felt the theme was. They are also free to make comments concerning preparedness and organization of the groups. They can also pick the group that they felt had the best use of the theme.

    Useful Internet Resources:  
    * The Kitchen Link
    This site has a large collection of recipes.

    * Tenny’s Food/Recipe Page
    A large collection of links related to cooking and recipes.

    Special Comments: The students tend to enjoy this activity. I allow students to come in early, stay late, or come in at lunch to work if they are in a time crunch. The staff really love this. Students really work harder when they know that other adults besides the teacher are going to see and taste their work.