Summer is here in this part of the world and with it comes heat, and heat brings thirst. What better way than to quench your thirst with a nice, cold glass of lemonade. This is what my 9 year old twins decided about a week ago. They have toyed with the idea of opening a lemonade stand for the last few summers but it never quite came to fruition. Well, during my absence from home at the start of the week they opened a lemonade stand, and I am in awe of the learning that is happening as they independently follow through with and implement their plan. They are learning “IN experience”, which is really what the heart of inquiry based learning is all about. It’s kind of ironic that learning “IN experience” can also be read as “learning inexperience”. Both statements are true to inquiry – inquiry is all about taking on the unknown and making it into a known – both “inexperience” and “IN experience”.
The kids started with an idea, prepared a plan and took action: they researched the cost of lemons and the other ingredients they would need, they came up with their lemonade recipe (the best I’ve ever had!), they made a marketing plan, gathered supplies, and then they set to work. In implementing their plan, they’ve learned what it means to break even, make a profit and take a loss; the importance of counting your money just right; they’ve learned about supply and demand, and quality control; ways to drum up business when it is slow, and what it means to have a slow business day. Best of all, they’ve learned team work as they’ve relied on each other and the two neighborhood friends who’ve set up an iced tea business along with them. None of this learning happened at a desk or under the carefully structured school learning environment. It happened because they had an idea, worked through their own inexperience IN experience by choosing, acting and reflecting. All along the way they continue to make decisions about their lemonade business to improve and grow it. The best thing of all is that I have had absolutely nothing to do with this little learning venture except to buy myself a glass of lemonade and toast the success of their endeavour. So what do you do when life throws you lemons? …Make lemonade of course! Thanks kids!