Second grade students at Yost Elementary in Chesterton have been learning about economics by studying about wants, goods, services, consumers, producers and resources. As a way to apply these learned skills, second grade teachers Jade Navarre, Heather Dunkle, Amanda Scully, Amber Humes and Tammy Socausky created the “Yosties’ Candy Crunchies Company”.
“We have been doing this project for seven years now,” said Navarre. “We have had great success in getting the students involved in the program because it brings economics to life.”
The four classes, comprised of 80 second graders, worked in six assembly lines to create “Crunchy the Snowman,” a white chocolate dipped pretzel rod decorated to look like a snowman. “Parents help us keep everything running smoothly,” said Dunkle. “The students learn how to work together as a team.”
The program got a makeover this year to make it safe for kids with nut allergies. All the treats that made up Crunchy the Snowman are nut-free and made in a nut-free facility. It increased the cost of our product, but it gives more of the students in the school the opportunity to try the treats.
All four classes worked together to create approximately 608 snowmen. Also this year, our local Strack & Van Til Supermarket donated all of the pretzels needed to make ‘Crunchy’. “Stracks was very generous with the donation of pretzels, as this is a large portion of our overhead costs. As a result we will be able to donate even more money to the charity of choice by students. We are very grateful to them for their willingness to give back to the community,” said Dunkle.
Each child was required to fill out a job application and was assigned a job in the company. Jobs ranged from assembling the product to packaging and tagging. All the students helped with the marketing process by making in-school commercials and posters to advertise their upcoming project. Students received on-the-job training, and even earned a paycheck (class cash) for their hard work.
The students sold “Crunchy the Snowman” treats during their lunch periods to fellow classmates and staff. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to a charity. The second grade students will be voting on the charity where they would like to donate the money. “We like to encourage giving to charity," said Navarre. “The students need to know the importance of giving back to their community.” The remainder of the profit will be used to fund the second grade mini-economy project which is a second grade student store, called Yost Mart, where students can spend their earned ‘class cash’ on special goodies such as craft items, puzzles, games, books, school supplies, etc.
The teachers expressed how previous second grade Yosties have enjoyed and talked about this project so much that their younger siblings can hardly wait until it is their turn to make “Crunchy the Snowman” when they get into second grade.