Students will research local needs in the community and share the information with younger grade levels. The fifth grade students will organize and promote a school-wide food drive. Fifth grade students will then donate canned foods and volunteer at a local food pantry.
The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
Son, the man said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said,
“I made a difference for that one.”
-Food collection barrels (provided by the food pantry)
-Bulletin board to track food donations by grade level.
-Computers/internet access to research
Lead a discussion about what it means to be hungry. Did you eat breakfast this morning? How do you feel when you don’t eat breakfast? Have you ever gone without eating breakfast and lunch? How do you think you would feel if you didn’t eat for two days? What is the difference between hunger and hungry? Using the internet, research facts about hunger in our community and reference it to hunger in our country. When using ratios (e.g. 1:3) ask the appropriate number of students to stand to make a visual representation.
Activity 2: Making a Difference
Share the “Starfish Story.” Lead a discussion about how we can make a difference in targeting hunger in our community. Brainstorm ways we can reduce hunger. How can we help just one family in our community? How many people could we help if the whole school was involved? Plan and organize a school-wide food drive.
Activity 3: Spreading the Word
The fifth grade students will go into the younger grades’ classrooms and lead discussions similar to activity 2 on hunger and making a difference. They will promote/encourage the younger students to participate in the food drive.
Students will create posters/flyers to be displayed in the school. They will also create announcements for classroom websites and our morning newscast.
Activity 4: Service in Action
Students will bring in canned goods for one week. Each day fifth grade students will collect the can donations, count, and tally the results. They will also be responsible for graphing the results on a bulletin board.
Activity 5: We Can Make a Difference
After all the donations have been collected, the fifth grade students will donate the food to a local food pantry and volunteer their time. Students will tour the food warehouse and participate in the everyday operations.
Activity 6: Reflection
Students will calculate the number of families they helped through donations and service. They will reflect on how their service helped others and how it personally impacted their lives. They will also brainstorm ways that they can continue to make a difference.
Extensions and Adaptations
As a family, track your grocery habits: How much do you spend on groceries? How much food do you consume? How much food do you throw out?
Find other ways to help those in need.
Related Links and Resources
“Starfish Story: You Can Make a Difference”
Beth Collom, Fifth Grade, Ellisville Elementary/Rockwood School District
Cheryl Hunn, Fifth Grade, Ellisville Elementary/Rockwood School District
Kim Schaedler, Fifth Grade, Ellisville Elementary/Rockwood School District
Todd Fitzpatrick, Fifth Grade, Ellisville Elementary/Rockwood School District