Empty Bowls



Project Name: Empty Bowls

Facilitator Names: Gwyn Osborne & Heather Lankford

Grade: 3rd

Subject(s): Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies

Course Name: 3rd Grade

Project Description & Content Topics Addressed:

Bowls designed and created by students.

As participating citizens of a community, students will be organizing an event to fight hunger in their community. Students will be learning to be responsible citizens and reflect on how Missouri relies on those citizens. In addition, students will work on drawing conclusions, author’s purpose, main idea, text features, character change, and writing a narrative piece on how they can be responsible citizens in Seneca. Students will also work on estimating, counting money, and adding.

A. Learning Goals: Content Knowledge & Skills Addressed (Standards)

Social Studies:

  • I can explain how the State of Missouri relies on responsible citizen participation and draw implications for how people should participate.


  • I can draw conclusions and support with evidence from the text.
  • I can explain the author’s purpose.
  • I can describe the interaction of characters in a story including relationships and how they change in a grade level text.
  • I can support the main idea using details of facts from the text.
  • I can use information gained from illustrations and words to demonstrate understanding of the text.


  • I can apply a writing process to develop a text for audience and purpose.


  • I can understand place value and round whole numbers to the nearest ten and hundred.
  • I can fluently add and subtract within 1,000.

B. Driving Question: How can we, as hunger fighters, help provide food for people locally and globally?

C. Entry Event: After the art teacher discussed creating bowls in art class, students received a letter from the Seneca Food Pantry addressing the need for more resources. Our Community Partner will then meet with students to discuss how the food pantry operates and how it relies on Seneca’s citizens to stay in business. 

Students meeting with one of our Community Partners and learning about some practices that good waiters and waitresses do.

D. Benchmarks & Scaffolding: We provided scaffolding as needed through small group interventions (workshops).

E. End Products

  • Bowls, Pottery Project
  • Persuasive Poster
  • Bowl Sale & Soup Dinner
  • Writing Piece (Informative, Opinion, or Narrative)

F. Rubric(s)

G. Community Partnerships

  • Mrs. Howard (Art teacher)
  • Doris Mead (Seneca Food Pantry)
  • Macy VanDorn (Restaurant Server)

Inquiry: Students will use their Need to Knows to drive their research on ways to be responsible citizens and fight hunger. Students will have to coordinate an event that will help our community.

Student Voice & Choice

Students had voice and choice in the following aspects of the project:

  • Designing the bowl
  • Soup type
  • Decorating
  • Role for the night of the event
  • Narrative writing piece

The project was initially serving just our local community, and the students asked the extend it to help fight hunger globally as well.

Authenticity & Relevance (Real-World Connections, Applied Learning, Active Exploration):

Students creating flyers to advertise our event.

Students will be:

  • creating bowls
  • researching soup recipes, creating grocery list for ingredients
  • researching ideas for events to fight hunger
  • advertising/promoting event
  • planning/organizing event (decorating, serving, counting number of RSVP)
  • collecting money

Employability (21st Century) Skills Addressed:

  • Critical Thinking: Students investigated multiple options for creating an auction for the bowls, organizing soup preparation, desserts, and drinks.
  • Collaboration: Students worked in groups to design flyers and commercials for advertising purposes. Each group also had a specific role the night of the event which required collaborative planning.
  • Community: Students worked within the community, greeted customers, collected money, served food, and cleaned up afterwards. Community Partner to learn ways to protect our Earth.
  • Communication: Students displayed verbal communication through commercials and written communication through flyers and writing pieces.
  • Creativity: Students had voice and choice on the design of their individual bowls, decorating, and advertising.

Students working at the event.

Formative & Summative Assessment Activities: We are a standards based grading district. See rubrics listed above. 

Required Materials and/or Tools:

  • Devices for research
  • Informational text as well as fictional text to teach reading skills

Examples of Student Work

  • Bowls
  • Reflection


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