After reading “The Lemonade War” and understanding the lessons in the book, Dee Beavers’ fourth-graders knew what they needed to do to find sweet success in their own lemonade stands.
Inside the classroom at Seymour-Redding Elementary School on Dec. 18, each stand sold lemonade, of course. The eight groups of three students also sold items, including chips, cookies, candy canes, suckers and other candy, or offered services, such as face or nail painting.
Other classes at the school visited Beavers’ room throughout the morning to make purchases, with items or services only costing a quarter or two.
The fourth annual project taught the students important life lessons, including organization, teamwork, selling and interacting with others.
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Plus, they learned about community service because they chose to split the $248.23 they raised between Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and Red Sky Rescue, a dog shelter near Medora.
“I think what I really want them to get out of this is just the ability to work with other people, to come up with an idea, to be able to do it and then to reap the benefits by giving to someone else, to brighten someone else’s holiday,” Beavers said.
“It’s not about receiving all of the time. It’s about giving back,” she said. “I hope that they stick with that and remember that as they grow older. They are always going to remember this project, and the sense of giving back to others is, I think, what we need nowadays.”
“The Lemonade War” shares the story of fourth-grader Evan Treski and his younger sister, Jessie, who start a lemonade stand war.
“Jessie is really good at math, and she wants to run a lemonade stand, and Evan wants to, and he doesn’t want to do it with her because she’s going to be in his class,” fourth-grader Shayla Thompson said.
“They are selling lemonade, and the person who has the most money, they get to take the other person’s money, and they win,” fourth-grader Will Kratoska said.
The students learned that fighting isn’t worth it, and it’s better to work together.
“Fighting wouldn’t solve anything,” Will said.
“If you work hard, then it pays off,” Shayla said.
Beavers said the book teaches important lessons.
“I think it helps the boys and girls to understand theme and the message that if we put our differences aside, we can make a big difference in other people’s lives,” she said. “It fits in with the Christmas season, as well.”
The book also contains lessons in business, marketing and math, which the students are able to apply in operating their own lemonade stands.
“It helps with creativity because you never know what the kids are going to bring in,” Beavers said. “It’s pretty amazing some of the ideas that they come up with. I think that’s a good skill to have that lasts a lifetime.”
The students said the business lessons will help them later on in life.
“Because whenever you grow up, you might be selling stuff, you might be behind the counter selling stuff,” Will said.
“When you’re taking the money and focusing on it and running around and trying to get everything done, that’s better for you in the future, say, if you are a waitress or a banker or something,” Shayla said.
While the students said it felt good to see people spending money at their stands, the best feeling was knowing the proceeds will help others.
“We’re giving it to Riley Hospital, and they are trying to help kids be better,” Will said.
“And since it’s also going to a dog rescue, that makes me feel better,” Shayla said.
Beavers said it’s neat to see the whole school excited about the lemonade stands.
“One of the students that I have this year, she said, ‘Oh, I’m so excited,’ because she remembers as a first grader coming in here. Then it’s like, ‘Oh, I get to do this,’” she said. “They look forward to it, and they know either from a brother or sister that has been through it or they’ve come themselves. It just keeps them completely engaged throughout the whole day.”
Beavers’ students also learned about math and teamwork while participating in a recent paper chain challenge at the school.
That involved the fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms using strips of construction paper to make chains. They measured them to see whose chain was the longest and then determined the mean, median, mode and range.
The chains were then strung across the ceiling in the hallways.
“We learned it last year and were trying to review it, and the fourth-graders were learning it,” fifth-grader Maggie Patton said of the math lesson of mean, median, mode and range.
“It was a lot of math,” fifth-grader Addison Lemon said.
The two girls said they liked seeing the classes work together and connect the chains.
“I think it was really fun because we also learned teamwork in those little groups we were doing,” Maggie said. “Mean, median, mode and range can help people with different projects that they are doing, like maybe one of the kids is going to become a teacher, and they could do it in their classroom.”
Beavers said her class liked participating in the challenge.
“One of my kids, I thought was pretty cool, he said, ‘We just did a small part, and it turned out to be so huge,’” she said.
The lemonade stands and paper chain challenge both tie in with the seven habits of effective leaders the school is promoting throughout the school year. Those include being proactive, beginning with the end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, seeking first to understand and then to be understood, synergizing and sharpening the saw.
“We’re trying to instill here at Redding different habits that we hope continue throughout their lives,” Beavers said.