Students learn ‘Earth Day rocks with Tootsie Pops’
Tonganoxie Elementary School students probably can answer the age-old question: How many licks does it take to get to Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
Until this week, they might not have known the relationship between a Tootsie Pop and Earth Day, but they do now.
As part of an economics project, third-grade students sold suckers to fellow TES students for 25 cents a pop.
Third-grade teacher Gail Kiefer, one of five TES third-grade instructors, said the teachers thought the students would sell some Tootsie Pops, perhaps 100 per class for a total of 500.
After the first day April 16, the third-graders had sold out.
When their five-day marketing blitz ended Friday, students had sold about 2,000 suckers throughout the elementary school.
"We learned a lot about supply and demand with our suckers, didn't we?" Kiefer asked a few of her students during an interview Monday.
That was one area the students were studying during the project, but third-graders also pitched their products to other students, advertised around the school with posters and even launched a marketing slogan.
In the end, third-graders made a profit of $347.
Although the project was all about economics, it evolved into another undertaking.
It's become tradition the last few years for third-grade students to plant flowers in the school's outdoor classroom, which is southeast of the school's modular classrooms on the TES campus.
Students asked whether they could use their profit toward flowers and supplies for the outdoor classroom.
A day after people around the globe celebrated the 37th Earth Day on Sunday, TES third-graders were doing their part to promote nature.
Monday morning, third-grade teacher Merrillee Cooper directed her students on preparing flowering pots for their new plants.
"The No. 1 job is to clean the old stuff off," Cooper told her students, referring to brush and dead plants that were contained inside the flowering pots.
After taking care of that cardinal rule in gardening, the students added new soil, mulch and, of course, new flowers.
Some volunteer flowers growing also were spotted in the outdoor classroom area. Upon discovering the flowers, students made sure to surround the base of those flowers with new soil.
That marketing slogan the classes came up with tied in directly with their gardening plan: "Earth Day Rocks with Tootsie Pops."
Students affixed the message, printed on a small piece of paper, to their suckers. And, the students also cut out what appeared to be petals out of pink construction paper and added those to the pops to resemble flowers.
Asked about her thoughts on selling 2,000 suckers, third-grader Hunter Cunningham responded as her eyes became big with excitement.
"That's a lot," she said with a huge smile.
Hunter, as well as classmates Aneth Torres and Monica Maurer, agreed that cutting out the pink construction paper and transforming their suckers into "flowers" was the most fun part of the experience.
In the coming weeks, students also will paint stepping stones that will join other decorated stones and rocks that dot the serene landscape. The area includes a pond, complete with a waterfall, goldfish and, most recently, hundreds of tadpoles.
To fund the outdoor project, the third-graders sold suckers to the entire elementary school, which now includes grades kindergarten through fourth.
Along with Kiefer and Cooper, Chris Baska, Karen Stockman and Nancy Patton teach third grade at TES.