Fifth graders make cents out of lemons

Bement fifth graders were originally tasked with selling lemonade to end a three-week unit that showed them how to start and operate a business.

But then their entrepreneurial spirit took hold, and they wanted to do more.

“When it started off it was going to be just lemonade, but then they decided they wanted to also be unique, because that’s part of being a business – how are they going to get kids to their table as opposed to another one – so that’s when they developed the idea of having food at the tables as well,” said fifth grade instructor Stephanie Eccles.

The result was an hour-long “Making Cents Out of Lemons” event the afternoon of May 5, instigated by the State Bank of Bement and fully embraced by school officials. Seven student teams came up with business names – Easy Peezy Lemon Squeezy and The Lemon Band among their monikers – and added items such as candy bars, cookies and popsicles to the wares they sold to the student body and community.

Bank staff went into the classroom five times to give instruction that led up to the Making Cents Out of Lemons sale.

“We started by talking about how your parents get money, what they do with it and how it works down to paying for their lunches,” commented Michelle Gross, the executive vice president at State Bank of Bement.

“Then we went into how the business concept works. We talked about how to make profit, what it costs to make things, how they would advertise, what they would do with their lemonade stand to get people to come to it, and all those types of things,” she added.

The bank also gave each elementary school student $2 to spend at the fifth grade business starts. The $728 raised, which will be matched by the financial institution, will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House, the charity chosen by the students.

Eccles said the project was not a part of any particular class unit, but noted the standalone effort did enforce other learning disciplines.

“We were able to bring our math into it because of all the decimals, working with percentages, adding and subtracting and all of that,” said Eccles, who is looking forward to repeating the exercise with next year’s fifth graders.

“This was bigger than we thought it was going to be. We were really excited about it,” she added.

Staff at the bank have taught third graders the basics of money for several years. Gross said they decided to add fourth and fifth graders to their financial curriculum this year, and is pleased with the result.

“They turned it into an even better project than we started with,” she said. “We will definitely do it again.”


Categories (2):News, Education


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