During Social Studies, Mrs. Sheffield introduced the JA BizTown course and taught principles of community, citizenship, and basic economic principals. Students learned about the circular flow of economic activity-- goods, services, and resources (human, natural, and capital) between people and businesses-- and the flow of money in exchanges. Students were introduced to the concepts of free enterprise and scarcity (supply and demand). They also learned that governments play an important role in an economy by providing public goods and services, paid for by tax dollars, and briefly discussed philanthropy and the non-profit sector.
In Math, Mr. Halverson discussed the importance of financial institutions and helped students complete a fake bank account application. Our 5th graders practiced making deposits, managing money, and properly maintaining a check register. Students learned a little about compound interest, savings, and the Rule of 72 in financial planning. They were also taught the importance of saving and investing.
In Language Arts, Ms. Redmon taught about choosing, getting, and keeping a job. Students examined their interests and skills and how those can be linked to various career alternatives. They learned about four primary career types: People, Ideas, Data, and Things. Students had opportunities to practice work-related "soft skills," which include being punctual, resolving conflict, and teamwork. Through a series of workplace dilemmas, students practiced conflict resolution, negotiation, and networking in the workplace, all of which play a critical role at JA BizTown. Students also learned about paychecks, payroll deductions, and gross vs. net pay. At the culmination of this unit, students filled out a job application and had a job interview(conducted by volunteer parent interviewers during Language Arts) to determine which job placement for BizTown. (They looked so cute in their professional dress, holding their job applications and practicing giving concrete examples of why they would be an asset to the company where they wanted to work!)
In preparation for their visit to JA BizTown, students worked in business teams to determine the components of a successful business operation. Working in their business teams, students learned about the importance of pricing goods and services to make a profit and the factors that affect the selling price. After talking about the importance of advertising and marketing, our 5th graders produced ads for their businesses. Student business teams reviewed their best practices for a quality business, made final preparations for their visit to JA BizTown, and completed a philanthropy commitment pledge to help their community.
BizTown is always one of my favorite days of the year because it drives home an understanding of the adult world and how it works! The students LOVE being adults for the day and most of them wish they could spend a week there instead of just a day.
Go to the Junior Achievement Website for more information! http://ja-utah.org/programs/jacity/