A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Cashing in pennies

The fifth graders at Olga Brener are having a very interesting fundraiser to raise money for their trip to the Milwaukee Public Museum for third time. They are holding a Penny War to reach their goal.

Each classroom has their own jar, and students bring in coins and paper bills to put in jars. Pennies are the only positive points that can be earned or the only points that raise the amount in the Penny War.

Fifth grade teacher, Ms. Jennifer Sperberg, said, “We have jars with each teacher’s name on them set on a table in the hallway. Students want to put pennies in their class jar as pennies are the only positive points. Silver coins and dollars are counted against a class, so some try to sabotage others.”

Not only do the students raise money for their trip, but they can also earn other prizes. The only way they can get these with the highest amount of money in the jar.

Fourth grade teacher, Ms. Lynn Trochil, explained, “The three classes with the highest amounts get to choose their prize: extra recess, game time or movie.”

Students have to make sure that the total is not in the negative because of the silver coins or bills put in. The only way the amount can get up is if there are more pennies than other coins or bills.

Ms. Trochil concluded, “Classes come up with strategic ways to come out a winner. Taking an early lead isn’t necessarily a good thing.”