It was the perfect afternoon for a thirst-quenching glass of lemonade.

It was the perfect afternoon for a thirst-quenching glass of lemonade.

The May sun was high in the sky, and perspiration was beginning to build on the students' foreheads.

As soon as five stands were set up in the front lawn of Eisenhower Elementary School, it didn't take long for the lines to form. All were sold out in under an hour, and the 23 third-graders in Carmen Zeisler's class had accumulated several hundred dollars after expenses for various nonprofit organizations.

"I am really excited about the learning that has taken place," Zeisler said. "Students are having to use a wide range of skill sets including a tremendous amount of teamwork."

The project was a cumulating event for a two-month unit on economics, where the example of a lemonade stand was used to explain how a business is run. Students learned how much money it takes to start a business, discussed sustainable choices, what it takes to make a profit and how weather can impact sales.

Following a money management lesson from Home State and Citizen State Banks, the students walked to Dillons to determine how much to charge based on supply costs. This was one lesson Zeisler saw the students learning — after figuring costs, some increased their prices or decreased ingredients to reach their goals.

Aiden Hoover and his group sold homemade lemonade, based on his grandmother's recipe. They were the busiest stand, and Hoover said he would tell his grandmother her recipe was a success.

One of the most difficult lessons to learn was taking out a loan.

"When they do lemonade stands at home, they just go to the kitchen and get the ingredients, and then keep the money," Zeisler said. "In this case, students had to realize that I was loaning them money for their supplies, but they would need to pay me back."

After the busy afternoon, and their loans were paid back, the students calculated a $330.12 profit.

These funds will go to the McPherson Animal Shelter, the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer, Shoes for Haiti, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Clayworks Disability Supports of the Great Plains. They were chosen by the students based on their interests.

Student Kaylee Zeitlow was part of a group to benefit to the Animal Shelter.

"We feel pretty good about it," she said. "We'll give a decent amount to them."

From the business unit, Zeitlow said she learned how to use proper customer service.

"It was fun experiencing all of this and having our hard work done," she said.

"Anytime we can link skills together on a real-world project, it is such a great learning experience for the students. The skills that kiddos learned were countless and the fact that the money is going to non-profits made it even more of an impact for the kids," Zeisler said. "As a teacher, I want my students to learn reading, writing, math, but most of all I want them to learn how to problem solve. I want them to ask questions. I want them to be creative, and I want them to see how they can help the world around them. This project helped us do all of those things."

Contact Jenae Pauls at and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel