A big bowl of cereal is a great way to start the day, and Peachtree City Elementary showed that donating cereal is a great way to start a chain reaction of community impact. Enrichment students took a classroom lesson and expanded it into a service project, leading the charge to gather 370 boxes of cereal to build a domino chain reaction and then donate them for families in need.
Brandi Thornton’s grade enrichment classes were learning about Rube Goldberg, simple machines, and chain reactions when she found a video of a school in Michigan that did the cereal box domino chain reaction.
“It was so cool. I showed it to my 1st-5th grade Enrichment students. They were inspired, and we decided to begin collecting cereal,” said Thornton. “(Principal) Dr. Berryman said we could open up the cereal drive to all of Peachtree City Elementary because of the positive community impact.”
The line of cereal boxes stretched from the school’s back hall, through the middle hall, and onto the front hall.
“The first box was given a little nudge, and the boxes fell like dominoes all the way from the back of our building to the front of our building to the total delight of the students.”
The cereal has been donated to the Real Life Center, a local non-profit helping families in need through a variety of ways, including a food pantry.
“We did not limit the discussion to the physical chain reaction of the boxes. We also discussed the chain reaction of one good deed inspiring another. We were inspired by the school in Michigan, and we hope to inspire other schools,” said Thornton. “One of the gifted standards is: Students will develop a deeper understand of self. Realizing some people struggle to feed their families helps my students gain some perspective. They are now more aware that having sufficient food is a blessing.”
The project also focused on developing advanced communication skills. The 4th and 5th grade enrichment students created word problems and 3-Act Tasks involving the cereal, then they practiced their presentation skills by visiting classes to teach math lessons.
“The younger students thoroughly enjoyed being taught by older students,” said Thornton. “We could see a noticeable increase in donations from a particular grade level the day after the students taught the cereal-themed math lessons.”
The experiment was a smashing success, and one they hope to recreate in the future.
“My students and I were delighted with the 370 boxes of cereal that were collected. Students in the hallway stopped me to say how fun the chain reaction was and to say they hoped it would be a yearly tradition,” said Thornton. “The Real Life Center was profusely grateful for the donations and assured us they would be a blessing to many families.”
Peachtree City Elementary Principal Dr. Kristin Berryman thanked her teachers and students for turning a classroom learning experience into a school-wide project.
“I want our students to find joy in giving back to the community and supporting families that need a little bit of help to get through a difficult time,” said Dr. Berryman. “I have an extraordinary school community that is extremely generous and supports our efforts to ‘pay it forward.’”