Our recent business project in Year 6 was inspired by a practice SATs question, where children wrote a letter to persuade their headteacher to let them start a healthy tuck shop at school. The project took place after SATs tests and lasted for six weeks. The aim was for pupils to create their own business and to make a profit, which would contribute to the cost of an end-of-term disco.
The project began with pupils designing a questionnaire, conducting market research throughout the school, producing pie and bar charts and then, based on their research, choosing a product they could sell. They chose a wide range of products, including friendship bracelets, fruit kebabs, fresh juices and many other exciting ideas.
Creating advertising posters and leaflets was a great opportunity to use ICT in a "real" way. They also used the internet to source the cheapest materials to make their products. The children worked in groups of four to create a business plan, which involved working co-operatively and sharing responsibility. Each child contributed pound;2 to provide the capital, which could be reimbursed at the end if they made a profit.
The businesses ran once a week for three weeks. We set up a market in the playground and pupils from Years 3, 4 and 5, parents and school staff bought their products. After each sale they used spreadsheets to calculate their profits. Pupils were encouraged to be businesslike and to modify their products if necessary.
At the end of the project the overwhelming response of the pupils was that they had enjoyed being able to learn many new skills which they felt would be valuable to them in later life.
They enjoyed learning how real businesses work and they learned that it takes hard work to earn money.
Vicki Hurst, Year 6 teacher, Downs Junior School, Brighton and Hove