Corbin Intermediate School sixth grade students are getting a lesson in economics, entrepreneurship, repurposing materials and philanthropy.
The 230 students have been working over the last month to design and build products/crafts using recycled materials that may then be sold during the school’s Museum Night on Thursday as part of the school’s “Pay it Forward” event.
The students will then donate any profits to a charity of their choice.
“They each decided on an organization to which they would donate all of their profits,” said Nerissa Calhoun, who has been working with the students along with fellow Social Studies teachers Jennie Watkins and Kim Stewart.
The teachers divided the students into 54 teams.
Each team then researched ideas for crafts that can be made using recycled materials and selected the three the team liked the most.
“They have to take their own skill levels into account because they have to make it themselves,” Calhoun explained.
The students then did a “market survey” using the fifth grade students.
“They asked the fifth-graderss which one they would buy?” Calhoun said. “When they got their top choice, they went back and asked, ‘How much would you pay for it?’”
Once the students had that information, it was up to them what they did with it.
Calhoun said the students learned another lesson, as they had to determine their target consumer.
“If their target consumer is not a fifth grade student, they may choose to go in a different direction,” Calhoun explained.
After the students had selected their product, they had to develop a list of items they would need to manufacture it.
The list of recyclables was distributed through the school system’s “Peach Jar” Flier, asking for help to collect the necessary items.
“Each year, it seems like we need lots of plastic bottles of varying sizes,” Calhoun said. “This year, we seemed to need a lot of empty coffee canisters and also tin cans.”
“One of the groups needed mason jars with lids to make homemade snow globes,” Calhoun added.
When it came to where each group would send its money, Calhoun said the teachers have a list of 15 charities/non-profit organizations from which the students may choose.
The organizations include; Wounded Warriors, Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Appalachian Wildlife Foundation, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Kentucky Humane Society, Everlasting Arms Homeless Shelter in Corbin and Disabled American Veterans.
“In the past, if we have students make a suggestion, we can add it to the list,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun said while students get the recycled materials for free, they are charged for any ancillary items as a cost of doing business.
Calhoun said the teachers also talk about other costs such as labor and advertising.
The sale will begin at 6 p.m. in the Corbin Intermediate School gymnasium.
Calhoun said prior to attending the sale, visitors will stop by a PTA booth to exchange their cash for “Dog Dough Dollars.”
The specially designed money is the creation of two CIS students, Cody Hubbs and Libby Phipps.
“They tied for first in the design competition, so we used their entries for the front and the back of the bills,” Calhoun explained.
Calhoun said the price range of the available products ranges from $1-$5.
However, the teams may elect to adjust their prices.
“If they have something that is very popular, they may hike up the price,” Calhoun said. “If something isn’t moving, they may lower the price.”
Items available include: mosaic candles, light bulb ornaments, bottle cap ornaments, snow globes, phone holders, reindeer bottles, piggy banks, tin snowmen, birdhouses and a variety of other Christmas ornaments/decorations.
The event, which is being held in conjunction with the school’s “Museum Night,” will run until 7:15.
“We would like to invite everyone to come to Corbin Intermediate School to support not only our children, but, also, very worthy organizations in our area,” school officials said.