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Students seek to raise money for earthquake relief

May 20, 2015

Business plans mimicking the popular TV show Shark Tank

Photo of students with their project to raise money for Nepal.Fifth-grade students in Ms. Bevivino’s class at Harrison Avenue Elementary School are concerned about the recent earthquakes in Nepal, and they’re taking action by following in the footsteps of the popular TV show “Shark Tank.”

The fifth-grade students read about the citizens of Nepal in the beginning of the school year, including various nonfiction articles about the mountainside villages of Nepal. The students learned that Nepal’s people were already in need of basic human rights such as access to clean water. And now that the area is dealing with the impact of two earthquakes, students have switched to reading current articles about the growing concerns of bacteria in the water and treatment for the injured.

“We want to help the people of Nepal. We want to help them get back on their feet,” said Tommy Daly, fifth grader at Harrison Avenue. “Since we can’t go to Nepal, we decided to come up with a plan.”

The plan is simple: student teams will propose a variety of items to craft and then sell to others in the school and donate their profits to various relief organizations. Their project is called “Knick-Knacks for Nepal.”

Nepal projectsEach team of two students in the class has come up with a business plan to make the most profit by selling items in the school’s cafeteria over the course of a few weeks. Students are making products such as comic books, silly goo, drawings, bead bracelets, key chains, stress balls, clay, bookmarks, journals and frames. One team plans to set up a photo booth where students could have their picture taken in turn for a donation.

Koral Marcantonio and Tristen Powers’ are planning “Pencil Buddies,” which are made out of paper. They cost 25 cents to make, and they’re proposing to sell them for 50 cents each to make a profit.

Like the popular TV show, only five business plans will have the opportunity to see their product through to the final stages. These five teams will receive $20 to spend on supplies. The challenge is to invest those $20 to make the most money possible for the people of Nepal.

“Shark Tank” isn’t the only inspiration for this project. The students also watched the documentary “Living on One Dollar,” which taught students about how citizens in economically disadvantaged areas are using microloans to start a small business and “grow” their money. The documentary highlights Rosa, a young woman who used a $100 loan to start a weaving business to pay for her education.

“Students are using a variety of skills in this service-learning project. They have become invested in Nepal through reading, and they have developed empathy for the current issues impacting that area,” says fifth-grade teacher Alissa Bevivino. “Math problems are being applied to a real-world situation, and students are even using basic economic principles to yield a greater profit. They have the opportunity to use problem-solving skills to make a small global impact.”

The students hope to use technology to make a closer connection to the cause. They will use their classroom Twitter account to make more people aware of the project.

Key chain project“Hopefully other classrooms will want to raise money too,” says Justin Stockwell, a fifth grader who plans to create personalized key chains made of tree bark.

Students will present their business plans and samples of their product to a panel of “sharks,” which will include teacher and peers. Teams that make it through two rounds of judging by the “sharks” will go on to buy the supplies to make and sell their product to students in the school. The initial investment will come from the school’s Home School Association.

After reading a recently published article about local Queensbury resident, Anneliese Schmiel, who is volunteering in Nepal and helping with relief efforts, the students have decided to send part of the donations to and part to UNICEF.

Category: Archive