On the morning of the lemonade stand, Alison Brunk’s class finished setting up and many of her first graders were looking around with big eyes, saying “This looks really cool.” Brunk reminded the students, “YOU did all this!”
The project evolved out of the first graders’ study of living and non-living animals. They wanted to observe some animals in their own classroom, and they arrived at the idea of hatching chick eggs.
The students began researching and recording information on how to hatch chick eggs. They made a list of materials they would need: an incubator, shavings, chick food and a water dispenser.
But how were they going to get the money for these materials?
When first grader Abi suggested a lemonade stand for families who came to lunch to eat with their children, everyone agreed that this was the route to go.
Next, they brainstormed what they needed for the lemonade stand (which happened to coincide with the curricular standard on goods versus services). Some of the things included powdered lemonade, beverage dispensers and a space to hold the lemonade stand.
The students then went to work on creating persuasive letters to parents enlisting their help for the lemonade stand. The first graders began to get the word out by creating a commercial to advertise the lemonade stand to families and other staff at the building. The students also created fliers and posters and posted them around the school.
The students then brainstormed specific jobs (services) they would need to provide on the day of the lemonade stand and each child chose the job they were interested in. They discussed how the jobs would provide a service to help sell the lemonade to raise money, but also to make families feel welcome and let them know how grateful they were.
On the day of the lemonade stand, Taylor and Abigail greeted visitors and handed out maps. They let guests know that they were holding the lemonade stand because “we want to learn about baby chicks and share with other classes too.”
The class transformed the gym into a sea of yellow with festive balloons and decorated tables. Students wore colorful aprons and handmade name tags as they waited on customers. First grader Clay even served as a mascot, dressing up as a brightly colored chick.
The students knew their jobs and why they were doing them. As Clay said, “We need an incubator to keep the eggs warm so they will hatch.”
As it became clear that the students might raise more money than anticipated for just their chick project, the question was then posed ‘What should we do with any extra money?’
“Within our classroom community we have many recurring conversations about what it means to fill others’ buckets with a giving heart,” said Brunk. The students began thinking if they were so excited about hatching chick eggs, that other classes might be too. This gave them the idea of using the extra money for extra incubators to share with other classrooms at Wyandot.
The lemonade stand raised an amazing $1,552.50. An incubator costs $100, and the students worked through the math and realized they could buy an incubator for each of the 13 teachers that wanted one (with some chick funds to spare).
“I was hoping the students would feel empowered as they were making decisions,” said Brunk. “The lemonade stand started as such a small idea; I don't think any of them imagined they would make over $1500. My students were able to see how their words (both written and spoken) were able to make some really cool things happen!”
Brunk also loved how the community poured into the students. “The idea that others felt that their cause was important enough to show up for and donate towards was so empowering to them.”
The class has continued to research the chick hatching process and even had a visitor from a local farm come in to talk about the process and what the chicks will need to thrive after they are born. The incubators were recently delivered, and the class is now keeping close watch over the eggs -- trying to patiently wait the 21 days it takes for the chicks to arrive.