Stone soup project - Tucson Local Media: El Sol

Stone soup project

Fifth-graders ask for a little, gather much

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Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 12:00 am

A large group of people can accomplish lots by all chipping in just a little.

That’s what Mr. Jewett’s fifth-grade class learned while collecting items for the charitable organization Catalina Community Services.

The students wanted to help old people, children and the homeless. They thought it would be a nice gesture for the holidays.

Together, they decided to try to collect about one can of food or other needed item from every student at Painted Sky Elementary School.

For the sake of a nice, round number, they settled on 1,000 items.

That sounded like lots, but thanks to the students’ participation in STARBASE — a program offered through the U.S. Department of Defense that teaches everything from science to goal setting — the students knew about teamwork. (STARBASE is a science and technology acronym.)

Quickly, the class split into groups. The publicity committee would write scripts to be read during school-wide morning announcements. The art committee would make a thermometer poster for gauging progress. The technology department would categorize incoming goods on spreadsheets.

Once the system was in place, cans started rolling in. Some students brought one, just as Rob Jewett’s class had hoped they would. Some brought even more.

On the last day of the drive, Friday, Nov. 14, the final tally came in at 889. It wasn’t 1,000, but it was more than one item for each of the 800-some students.

The students had respect for their accomplishment.

“It feels really good to help people in need if you don’t expect something in return,” one said.

“We figured out,” another said, “how much just a couple of those cans can do.”

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