Third-grade teachers Tabetha Tedder and Kim Kennedy loved the idea because of the opportunities it would afford their students at Columbus Signature Academy’s Fodrea campus.
The 48 kids in the teachers’ combined classes needed a fun project to tie into recycling, money management, teamwork and creativity, among many other valuable lessons, under the school’s project-based learning curriculum.
Love Chapel food bank at 311 Center St. in Columbus needed donations, which would teach the kids about compassion.
Ultimately, the students bought into the project, raised $260 and donated everything from potato flakes to canned fruit Nov. 30 for individuals and families who have fallen on hard times.
“Giving feels good,” said Wyatt Daugherty, 9, who helped make bird feeders that were sold along with other class-crafted wares in late September at the farmers market at FairOaks Mall.
“I learned how to give and be a salesman.
Tedder said the idea for the project came when teachers at CSA Lincoln contacted her and Kennedy about the possibility of teaming up on the creation and sale of student crafts. She and Kennedy spoke with their third graders about the idea, devised a way to tie it into their curriculum and enthusiastically forged ahead with the project.
One of the first steps Tedder’s and Kennedy’s classes took was to divide into six teams, each responsible for creating one item that would be sold for various prices at the farmer’s market.
The items included:
- Lanterns made from vegetable cans.
- Paper beads.
- Bee- and ladybug-themed bird feeders made from painted cans.
- Tulip bulbs in can planters.
- Advertising signs.
- Deco jars.
The group that made paper beads had to cut triangle shapes from magazines, which were then balled up and glued onto necklaces and bracelets. Teachers used that experience as a launch board to discussing shapes and polygons.
The group that made the tulip bulb planters learned the difference between perennials and annuals. Perennials are plants that return year after year via the same root system. Annuals live their entire life cycle during a single growing season and return only because the dormant seed lives on.
When the teams finished their projects, they discussed what prices would be fair, Kennedy said. Some of the amounts started high — one student recommended that a bird feeder sell for $25 — before the students settled on more reasonable prices.
“We needed to keep in mind that these are made by children and that we can’t ask too much,” Tedder said. “But at the same time people know they’re donating to a good cause.”
The bird feeders ultimately sold for $5 a piece.
They were the most popular items at the sale and sold out before anything else.
Tedder said not everything sold, which was a lesson in itself.
Part of the reality of business is to learn what sells well, what doesn’t and how those realities can be tweaked next time to further maximize the students’ profitability.
The students’ next step — one they decided would be more fun than just donating money — was to shop for food, Tedder said. They contacted the manager at the east side Marsh supermarket, who set aside some ads for the students to peruse so they could come up with the best deals.
Teachers and students one day walked from their school to the supermarket, where they shopped, kept running totals of the money they spent and left with a cart full of food.
Love Chapel had told the students ahead of time what kind of food they needed most, food that included potatoes and basic staples suited for a standard holiday meal.
After students made their donation, a Love Chapel worker asked if the students would be willing to do it all again at the end of the school year or the start of next school year.
The students said yes.
Teachers concluded their most recent project by “debriefing” their third graders to find out what they learned.
One student said she worried at one point that her group wouldn’t finish their project in time.
Another said the whole process was hard, but it was worth it in the end.
Erica Bishop, 9, whose group made lanterns, said she learned about the value of giving. She said she knew people in this community need help; she just didn’t know it was so many.
On a personal note, she said she will incorporate what she learned from making lanterns to the other crafty projects she often does at home.
“I like crafts,” she said.