Lemonade War teaches economics to HAE third grade

Lemonade War teaches economics to HAE third grade
Alex Osbourne, development coordinator of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, holds a check for $1,557.02 with Katherine Cumbow, as third-grade teacher Tracy Langley looks on during a school assembly in the courtyard at Hendricks Avenue Elementary June 1.

This year Wolfson Children’s Hospital was the beneficiary of what has become a right-of-passage for all third graders at Hendricks Avenue Elementary School.

On June 1, Alex Osbourne, development coordinator for Wolfson Children’s Hospital, was presented a check for $1,557.02 from third grader Katherine Cumbow, the spoils earned from the students’ annual “Lemonade War,” which took place May 22-27 at the school.

This spring all 116 students in the third grade took part in the economics lesson that was created four years ago by Tracy Langley of San Marco, a third grade English/Social Studies teacher at the school.

To make those lessons more understandable, Langley had her classes read “The Lemonade War” by Jacqueline Davies, the story of a brother and sister who make a wager about who can sell the most lemonade in the last five days before school starts.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his daughter, Brooke, stopped by The Elemonator’s table to donate to Wolfson Children’s Hospital and enjoy a cup of lemonade during the third grade Lemonade Wars in May.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his daughter, Brooke, stopped by The Elemonator’s table to donate to Wolfson Children’s Hospital and enjoy a cup of lemonade during the third grade Lemonade Wars in May.

Chapter by chapter, the book covers basic economic concepts such as underselling, value added, partnership, and competition. After her class read the book, it decided to hold its own lemonade war, with the children using the different concepts to market lemonade and raise money for charity.

To decide what kind of store-bought lemonade they needed to use for their war, the third graders used a blind taste test. “We use Simply Lemonade, canned lemonade, and Country Time powdered lemonade. Then we do a cost analysis to see how much a cup of each will cost. They usually figure out that Country Time is the cheapest and the sweetest so they vote for that. As a teacher, I want them to realize Simply Lemonade is expensive. We talk about that in economics class,” Langley said.

Langley’s class had so much fun the book was added to the curriculum with the entire third grade eventually taking part in lemonade wars, where the students work to attract customers among their schoolmates and parents during awards week in late May.

After selecting appropriate names such as “The Elemonators” or “Luscious Lemons” for their classes, the students create flyers to market their lemonade throughout the school. Tables are set up in the school courtyard during lunch over three days, and some students dress as lemons, blow bubbles, or give away little treats, such as Lemonhead candy, to entice customers to their tables. They even have a cheer and a dance, started by Langley’s former student Campbell Scharer and passed down to the students, to draw customers in: “Lemonade, crunchy ice, sip it once, sip it twice.” 

“We have a joint venture with all the different classes. We battle for customers through donations. [The Duval County School Board does not allow students to raise money through selling items this way at school.] Then we pool our money, and the kids give the funds to a charity of their choice,” she said.

Over the past three years the students have given to The Humane Society; Trevor Moore, a former HAE student who suffered a severe brain injury, and to former HAE student Logan Franks, who raised money last year to purchase water filters for a needy Guatemalan community. This year Katherine Cumbow pitched the idea of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, thereby being selected to present the check to Osbourne during the school assembly.

“Wolfson Children’s Hospital was honored to be chosen as the beneficiary for Hendricks Avenue Elementary’s third grade class fundraising project,” said Alexandra Osborne, development coordinator for Baptist Health Foundation and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“It’s a craziness that ends up being a good learning experience,” said Langley about the annual event. “It’s loud. We’re lucky the principal lets us do it, but it will be the favorite thing of the all the students for the whole year.”


By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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