Mariemont Elementary students have found a new way to combine what they learn in the classroom with community service. In the second quarter of the school year, students in Lauren Dammel’s fourth grade class began earning coins and bills as a classroom reinforcement tool to reward effort and engagement. The lesson was to incorporate and enhance financial literacy skills including balancing a budget, problem solving, cumulative values, equivalent values, etc.
Initially, the students’ goal was to collectively earn $50 to win a classroom pizza party. But after classroom discussions, the students decided that the money should go to a charitable organization and set out to find the right fit for the money.
The students began a project of researching local organizations and writing persuasive opinion pieces (including textual evidence) to convince their classmates that their selected organization should be the recipient of the donation.
The class finally voted and it was determined that the Cincinnati Animal Care Shelter would be the organization to benefit from the donation. Additionally, because of one student’s personal connection and extra effort, Children’s Hospital will also receive a donation on behalf of the students.
The lesson combined financial literacy skills with writing and research while giving the students the opportunity to contribute to a greater cause and enhance the lives of others through organizations within the community.