Learning Beyond the Classroom: 6th Grade Empty Bowls
NorthPointe Christian 6th grader students recently hosted their 5th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraising Dinner. This dinner was part of a service-based learning project, in coordination with an interdisciplinary unit on Africa.
In the unit, students learn about the hunger issues that plague some people in Africa, underlying causes of poverty and disease, and the effects of malnutrition and hunger. That has led sixth grade classes each year to do their part to actually combat hunger both locally and abroad through the Empty Bowls dinner.
Sixth graders themselves plan the Empty Bowls dinner, calculate the costs of food and supplies needed, and create tickets and posters to promote the event. They also use skills learned in art class to design pottery bowls, representing all the empty bowls around the world; these bowls are sold by silent auction during the dinner. Proceeds from the sale of tickets and the silent auction are donated to two organizations that combat childhood hunger: Kids Food Basket in Grand Rapids and the Abandoned Children’s Foundation in Africa.
Josiah Lammers, on the serving committee, said, "I enjoyed Empty Bowls a lot. I loved how we were supporting kids in Africa and how all of the money went to kids who are hungry."
Students used reading, language, and technology skills to create Africa display boards. During the dinner, student presented a PowerPoint presentation to share their passion for the cause. Students set up and decorated, sold tickets, served food and beverages, shared their presentations, and helped with clean up.
Laila Bell noted, "I liked how we got to do different things in each class for this one project. It was really fun that I to work with all of my friends as part of the decorating committee. We were in charge of planning out how we would decorate and all of the set up the evening of the event"
This service-based learning project allows students hands-on experiences and gives them authentic reasons for learning important skills taught in 6th grade. It also helps NorthPointe 6th graders to develop a passion for those that are less fortunate than they are and gives them a genuine opportunity to make a difference in their community and world. Through this experience, students see the usefulness of these skills and grow and grow in greater motivation to use them in the real world. With this year’s Empty Bowls Dinner, students were able to raise over $1,400.
Empty Bowls allows NorthPointe students to put feet to their faith and allows NorthPointe to live out our mission of "equipping students to impact their world for Jesus Christ."