Food trucks are becoming much more popular than in the past. If you've ever been to the downtown area of Portland, Oregon you'll see lots filled with them, offering vegan to Thai to Spanish to BBQ. There are so many you could eat something different for a month.
I've eaten from them when I'm down there for training. I bet you are wondering where this is leading and how it relates to math. Well in Volume 53 of Make magazine, there is a fantastic article on building your own food truck from scratch.
The article suggests you decide what type of food you want to serve so you know exactly what equipment you will need. Serving artisan ice cream is different than BBQ so make a list of everything you need and create a plan for the equipment. This helps you determine the amount of space needed which tells you the size of truck needed. You have to know the exact measurements for each and every piece of equipment.
The plan also helps determine where wiring goes, the water, everything so it goes easier. It doesn't hurt to know any sanitation rules you might have to follow when planning. Once you have this, you mark the inside of the truck with something like a sharpie so you know where the serving window is, the stove, the sink, everything including outlets.
The author even recommends hiring an electrician if you don't know much about electricity so its done correctly. Its hard to change anything once its all put together so do it right the first time. He goes on to talk about exhaust hoods, gas or propane tanks for cooking, and even finishing touches.
Although there are no prices listed think about the type of project this would make. You could have students create a plan for a food truck, the costs involved in building it new or used, the cost of the truck, the cost of the electrician. They might even find out if street food trucks have to pass a health inspection. Once they've gotten their plan together and a cost sheet for it, they could investigate how much a loan would run to repay it.
Another real world application of math. I hope you enjoy the article and you have fun checking it out.