At Bement Elementary School in Illinois, a project selling lemonade and snacks started fifth graders on an entrepreneurial path.

Soft SkillsOriginally, fifth graders were supposed to sell lemonade at the conclusion of a three week unit about how to start and operate a business.  But they decided to take it further, and added snacks to their sales.

“When it started off it was going to be just lemonade, but then they decided they wanted to also be unique, because that’s part of being a business – how are they going to get kids to their table as opposed to another one – so that’s when they developed the idea of having food at the tables as well,” said fifth grade instructor Stephanie Eccles.

Thanks to a partnership with the State Bank of Bement, the students spent an hour “Making Cents Out of Lemons” on a recent afternoon, forming their own companies, and adding items such as popsicles, candy bars, and cookies.

Bank staff helped the students prepare by giving instruction in the classroom five times prior to the sale.

“We started by talking about how your parents get money, what they do with it and how it works down to paying for their lunches,” said Michelle Gross, the executive vice president at State Bank of Bement.

“Then we went into how the business concept works. We talked about how to make profit, what it costs to make things, how they would advertise, what they would do with their lemonade stand to get people to come to it, and all those types of things,” she said.

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