6th Graders Use Math to Create Businesses

By Mr. Dustin Delfin, Middle School Math Teacher

At the beginning of the year, the 6th grade math students were given an artificial bank account using a website called mykidsbank.org. Students were able to earn “Delfin Dollars” for a variety of reasons including class participation, being kind, produced work, etc. Throughout the weeks, students built their own bank accounts so they could participate in our year-long class project. The project is about running their own business while incorporating the mathematical concepts learned in class.

Phase 1 invited students to develop their own product, establish a company name and logo, and design an advertising brochure of their merchandise. During phase 2, students used the money they earned in their artificial bank accounts to contribute to the start-up of their business and selected costs needed to run a business, such as patent costs, legal fees, rent, utilities and other overhead costs. Phase 3 gave students the opportunity to mass-produce their handcrafted products and “sell them” to teachers and their peers.

An exchange of goods and “Delfin Dollars” created a mini economy in the 6th grade world. Once a product was sold, payment was made online using mykidsbank.org. We are about to enter phase 4 of the project where students are going to tabulate the amount of “Delfin Dollars” they made from their sales, budget their business and determine whether their company is making a profit or in debt. They will use this data to generate linear equations and function tables to predict how their company will perform over time.

This project has allowed students to not only use their creativity, but to collaborate, communicate and use their critical thinking skills. These 21st-century skills are important for students to develop as they will continue to rely on them as they progress in their educational journey. This project has also allowed students to use the concepts learned in math class and apply them to something that exists outside of the classroom.