In the days of early spring, the excitement is palpable in the 5th grade at St. Martin’s Episcopal School as students prepare for the 5th Grade Cookie Company project, a long-standing tradition. It is an interdisciplinary study of economics as well as a service project.
Students are grouped into companies of 4 members. The companies come up with a cookie recipe, a company name, a name for their cookie, and a slogan. The educational components of the project are spread across three core academic classes: language arts, math and social studies. In language arts, the students brainstorm advertising strategies as they learn about effective marketing techniques. They produce posters to hang around the school, and they create “ads” to read during announcements in the days leading up to the sale. In math, the students calculate all of the necessary measurements for their recipes. The grade has to plan to make enough cookies to serve to all of the students in grades K-8, so they often triple or quadruple their recipes, which involves some higher level mathematical thinking. Finally, in social studies, students are introduced to economic concepts such as supply and demand, profit vs. loss, and budgeting. They consider their various expenses, and they determine whether their companies made a profit.
Mixing Day and Selling Day are the most fun parts of the process. Parent volunteers come into the math classroom and assist as the students measure ingredients and make their cookie dough. The parent volunteers take the cookies home to bake, and the students package them the following morning. Finally, the cookies are ready to be sold to the school.
In 2014, cookie companies raised $904, which was donated to the UGA Marine Extension Service at Skidaway Island, the organization that leads our annual field trip. St. Martin’s students leave 5th grade with an increased sense of collaboration, creativity and service as a result of their cookie company experiences.