Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Risky Business! Not this Lemonade Stand!

Open for business.  My first grade class could hardly wait to say that after a week of preparation.  It all started when reading in our Social Studies book about goods and services.  One of the students noticed a lemonade stand in one of the pictures and commented, "we could have a lemonade stand."  And that one little comment snowballed into a week long project culminating with a real lemonade stand in our classroom.  I had one condition, they had to do everything to run the business.  We started with a KWL chart.  What did we know about running a lemonade stand?  The class generated 2 1/2 pages of questions we needed to answer or learn about before we could have our stand.  After discussing each question, brainstorming ideas, and answers, they would take a vote to decide on each issue.  They decided to have 2 sizes; medium and large, 2 kinds of lemonade; pink and regular, the cost would  be 50 cents and 1 dollar, and the money would be donated to the charity they voted on, which was the Humane Society. It was so interesting to sit and listen to them discuss ideas, but sometimes difficult to keep my mouth shut and not intervene.  The hardest decision was figuring out the cost of the lemonade.  They started out with $10 a cup! WOW! I thought these kids have no idea what things cost.  Here we are working on money and they really have no concept of pricing.  But think about it, when do kids nowadays see money.  They see debit cards and credit cards.  They came down in cost to $5 and I could not stay silent any longer.  I asked them what a drink would cost at McDonald's or Burger King, but they had no idea.  I had to tell them.  Then they came up with $1.86 and other odd amounts.  I'm thinking it is going to be a nightmare when they have to make change on every single sale. I made a comment about them having to count the money and making change and luckily one wonderful child shouted out, " How about 50 cents and $1?" We voted on the cost including the $10, $1.86 and a few others.  I crossed my fingers and sighed when they chose the 50 cents and $1.00. After a day and a half of discussing, debating, and voting, we were ready to get started. They had decided to form 4 committees; advertising, supply, stand design and build, and scheduling. Everything we did over the next few days tied to our curriculum.  Students wrote letters and sent emails to get the lemonade donated. They learned about advertising  by deciding what was important to include on the signs they created, and the fliers they made on the computer. They created lists of items needed, created jobs, made schedules, practiced counting money and making change, measured water and lemonade and wrote thank you notes to every class for attending.  We were ready! The other first grade class came first to be our practice class.  After they left, you should have heard the comments.  "Can we sit down now?!" "This is hard work?"  I just smiled and said, that was only the first class, you have 12 more classes and 3 1/2 more hours to work!  Boy were they tired, but they loved it!  They were so proud of themselves.  The big 6th graders gave them so many compliments. Here were these tiny 1st graders hustling and bustling and selling tons of lemonade.  When it was over and all the money counted, they made a WHOPPING $284 for the Humane Society.  They felt so good inside and so did I.  This was a true community service project tied to our curriculum and initiated by the students. I'm so proud.

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