Is There a Stone in My Soup? (3-5)

3, 4, 5

Students will plan a service project for children in their community, celebrating respect through understanding diversity, selflessness and cooperation.

PrintSix Forty-Minute Class Periods One additional class period for the final reflection, evaluation and celebration does not have to be immediately following. You may need several days to tally responses and prepare for the Stone Soup preparation.

The learner will:

  • plan an academic service-learning project to increase awareness of respect for others.
  • design and conduct a survey to determine awareness of behaviors and rules.
  • demonstrate math skills greater than 70% competency in graphing and interpreting data.
  • develop cooperative behaviors for group dynamics.
  • conduct on-going reflection.
  • evaluate the service learning process.
  • participate in a celebratory activity using Stone Soup.
  • Paper, markers and crayons (for invitations)
  • Hand-made decorations
  • Digital camera (for keepsake book)
  • Food/paper products (for Stone Soup)
  • Book titled, Stone Soup by Ann McGovern (see Bibliographical References)
  • Attachment One: Recipe (family note) and Attachment Two: Sample Survey
Home Connection 

Students will be asked to bring in an item to contribute to our “Celebrate Good Times/Stone Soup” culminating celebration. This should be sent home in the form of a letter. See Attachment One: Different! Diverse! Dynamic!


McGovern, Ann. Stone Soup. Scholastic Trade Books, 1987. ISBN: 0590416022


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Write the terms tolerance, respect and cooperation on the board. Review with learners the previous lessons in which they explored the words in terms of:

    • Respect or tolerance for others who are learning challenged.
    • Respect or tolerance for others in a diverse community.
    • Respect for the common good when in the halls, gym, auditorium, going on field trips by observing school rules.
    • Cooperating with others.


  2. Day One:

  3. Tell them that today they are going to hear a story about a group of people that treat others differently just because of where they were born.

  4. Read Stone Soup by Ann McGovern. Discuss the main problem in the book. Why did the villagers treat the soldiers poorly? How do you treat people who are different than you? Make references to “Leo” from Leo, the Late Bloomer and “Tricia“ from Thank you, Mr. Falker .

  5. Make a chart with three columns, one for each story, and have the learners write how each story deals with tolerance, respect and cooperation.

  6. Discuss the terms philanthropy and giving as they relate to tolerance, respect and cooperation.

  7. Discuss how we can bring about positive change in our school community by tolerating our differences and cooperating with each other.

  8. Talk about ways that we, as a community (class), can help bring about positive change in our community towards people that are different than ourselves.

  9. Day Two: Planning the Academic Service-Learning Activity

    Instructor Note: Contact one to two other teachers, obtaining permission for your class to conduct a needs survey.

    The Needs Assessment: A sample is included as Attachment Two.

    Review the scenario cards with the class from Lesson Five: I Feel Angry or Sad When… Ask the learners how they can use those cards to determine if other learners in the school believe there are problems relating to cooperation tolerance and respect in the school.

  10. Have the class determine:

  11. What they want to find out.

  12. How they want to inform others of their findings.

  13. How are they going to help correct the problems they discover?

  14. Develop a survey with the class.

  15. Discuss how the survey will be conducted and the behaviors they should demonstrate.

  16. Reflect on the day's activities by recording in a keepsake book: poem, picture, photo and words. Each student should make an entry each day.

  17. Day Three:

    Divide the learners into interview groups to conduct the needs survey. Give each group enough pencils and survey sheets for each learner to be surveyed from other classes. You may either have your learners go into the other class or have the other class come into your room.

  18. Conduct the needs survey. This should not take longer than 20 minutes.

  19. Guide the learners on the method you decide to tabulate the findings.

  20. Have the groups reassemble.

  21. Tabulate and rank order the findings from highest in concern to lowest.

  22. Report out the findings from the small groups.

  23. Create a graph representative of the total findings.

  24. Learners add to the reflection keepsake book.

  25. Days Four and Five

  26. Summarize the findings with the class. Discuss estimating the findings, purpose and method of graphing; demonstrate pie, circle and bar graphs.

  27. Determine what the results mean to the school climate.

  28. Find out if there are any written school rules that apply to the behaviors.

  29. Based on their findings, ask the learners to plan an activity with the class(es) they surveyed to improve cooperation tolerance and respect for each other.

  30. Examples may be:

  31. Write and perform skits for the other class(es)

  32. Video examples developed by class members of positive and negative behaviors portrayed by the class and then lead discussions with the other class on developing respect for rules and others.

  33. Write a school handbook based on improving school climate by tolerating differences and cooperation.

  34. Reflection: Each learner makes an entry in the keepsake book.

  35. Day Six:

    Planning the final reflection/evaluation and celebration

  36. Create letters of invitation for the “Celebrate Good Times/Stone Soup” culminating activity and mail them to the class(es) with whom you have partnered.

  37. Send letters of invitation to family memebers and the requests for donations to the Stone Soup recipe.

  38. Create decorations for the “Celebrate Good Times/Stone Soup” celebration (gear the difficulty of the decorations toward grade levels involved).

  39. The recipe for stone soup calls for meat. By recognizing diversity issues, it is NOT necessary to include it in the recipe. As a point of discussing diversity when you and your students prepare the soup, you should discuss dietary laws, vegetarian and vegan diets as a matter of choice and practice.

  40. Prepare the soup.

  41. Share the class experiences throughout the unit. Have family members who attend join in the discussions with their children.

  42. Final entries into their memory books where they have been entering their reflections.


Teacher observation of student behavior and participation during the preparation of the service project. Evaluate group participation. Quiz on math concepts

Cross Curriculum 

Learners will design and conduct a needs assessment survey evaluating awareness of the behaviors in Lesson Five: I Feel Angry or Sad When… They will select a service-learning project to improve student awareness of how these behaviors, if improved, would contribute to greater tolerance, respect and cooperation. By recreating the experience in Stone Soup, they will reflect on what they have learned throughout this unit about tolerance, cooperation and the common good.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate listening skills.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.6 Describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.