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The Utopian Business Project: Authentic Learning in the Grade 6 Class

At the beginning of the year, the Grade 6 class wrote autobiographies entitled, “You in 25 Years”. Many students aspired to be entrepreneurs. In order to build on their ideas, setting up their own business was brought in as an authentic vehicle for our curriculum.

The Students are currently in the process of creating, designing, and marketing their own businesses. Ideas include, a perfume boutique and a RC plane hobby shop. Thoughtful questions arose that connected to math, including:

“How are rental fees calculated?”
“I think they are calculated using the square footage? Let’s find out!” – Ms. Bei
The class wondered… “What is a square foot?”
Students were asked to create an expense budget for their business. After they had completed their budget, they were surprised and startled by the amount of money a business has to spend before it can make money! Students were able to use their lessons in expenses and budgeting as a learning opportunity for measurement.

Further deepening the learning, connections were made to Media Literacy, as the students looked at advertising and marketing for our business. Ms. Haldenby and Mrs. Murgatroyd were invited into our class as marketing and public relations experts. The students and I wanted to know, “What makes an advertisement powerful?”  The Grade Six students are currently developing drafts of their advertisements on paper and on Microsoft Publisher. Mrs. Sherman and I have been discussing eye-catching and balanced composition, while also using colour, images and text to hook a viewers’ attention. Subsequently deepening the learning connections into creative and visual design.

This project has allowed students to synthesize and apply concepts in math, literacy, visual arts, technology and other thinking skills. Most importantly, students have become deeply engaged because it has given them an opportunity to connect with the curriculum material in a real way.

This project has encouraged the students to:

•      Problem solve
•      Think critically
•      Collaborate
•      Connect numerous subject areas
•      Explore their interests
•      Grapple with complex ideas
•      Gain valuable life experience
•      Connect with entrepreneur parents

After our last lesson K.L. asked… “Wait…Ms. Bei are we done with our business already?”

“No…I think we are going to take it through many strands of math and literacy…what do you think?”

“Ok good…I really like this concept. It really interests me.” – K.L.


  • Grade 6 Class

    After looking at the blog…
    “We are so proud to have our accomplishments on the blog” -K.L
    “We have been working hard on this project, it requires a lot of thought and effort. I can see now that making a business is not the easiest thing to do with all the different components.” -A.M.
    “Awesomeness – We all enjoyed doing these projects.” -I.C and K.L.
    “The next thing we will be doing is a layout of our store” -A.P.

  • I saw the “Utopia’s” they made. They looked like they put a lot of hard work in to them. They were more than just a diorama for a school project. They were a work of art.

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