STUDENTS LEARN ABOUT BUSINESS WORLD WITH JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT
Dr. Sylvia A. Price & Patricia Hickey
Junior Achievement (JA) an organization dedicated to educating young people to learn about money, careers and starting businesses. JA USA is the nation's largest organization dedicated to educating students in K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs to help young people understand the economics of life. Volunteers representing the Manatee County Branch, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Manatee County Branch, the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club, Junior Achievement Organization and the community participated in this program for second, third and fifth graders at Anna Maria Elementary.
We transferred to a JA day format this year, where we went to the school for a half-day and volunteers present all five lessons in one sitting. This works better for volunteers because they are able to set aside one day to come in and serve the students, and teachers are able to free up one morning to bring financial literacy information into their classroom.
HOW A COMMUNITY WORKS
Priscilla Sewald taught Mrs. Newhall's second graders How a Community Works. Since this was her initial experience teaching Junior Achievement, she was apprehensive but stated "What a delightful experience it was." They discussed businesses and jobs, distinguishing unit versus assembly line production and the decision making process and how money flows through a community. The concepts of individually (unit production) and in groups (assembly line production) were used to produce donuts.
A few days later, Priscilla received a packet of thank you notes tied with a green ribbon. They thanked her for teaching them about jobs in the community, money and especially that everyone pays taxes. One of the students stated, "The day was fun. I learned so much and the donuts were so great, I would have paid $50 for it." All had a good day!
Taylor Vogelsang worked with Karen Newhall's 2nd grade classroom where they covered looking at the variety of careers that people have in a community, practice producing goods and services by making donuts. Students also practiced paying taxes to pay for government services such as roads and schools. They also practiced decision making and voting by holding a mock election in the classroom to decide what their school needs, and learned how money moves from the US mint and throughout our community.
Adam Ksiazek's goal was to present a meaningful and educational program on "Our City" to Mrs. Ensworth ‘s third grade class. The level of participation was outstanding as the discussion focused on planning, zoning, residential, business, industrial, farming and mixed). Money was emphasized since banks, saving accounts, checking accounts, credit cards; debit cards and currency are involved. Next, a restaurant was selected to start a business since an entrepreneur, staff; type of food and location was needed.
Since a city provides services (police, fireman, water, schools and more) is one of the reasons for property taxes. Each student had a $250 bank account and the game, similar to monopoly, they played focused on receiving or paying money. Then, each student disclosed how much money they had in the bank and the differences were discussed.
The program was presented in a workshop format, three hours rather than five one-hour sessions. The disadvantage is that they were unable to take home materials and review them with their parents or siblings.
Patricia Hickey worked with Dr. Laura Redeker's third grade classroom and stated, ‘that in a three hour workshop format, we built a city!" Students learned to identify the different zones used in city planning and apply the information to organize businesses. Also, they decided where homes, condos, businesses, schools and churches, farms and an airport should be placed. Additionally, students focused on the interdependence of consumers, producers and entrepreneurs. The concepts of communication via newspaper, television, radio, and digital communications were also emphasized.
Sylvia Price enjoyed working with Mrs. Mary Miller, as she was an integral part of the fifth-grade class during the session. Sylvia discussed the concept of free enterprise that permits individuals to make choices in their economic roles and entrepreneurship--imagination, innovative thinking, and management skills that are needed to start and operate a business.
The important concepts discussed were the importance and differences between human (people who do work that a business needs), capital (buildings, tools, machines and money} and natural resources (air, water, minerals, trees, graphite, clay). The need for workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM SKILLS) was also stressed. The students using these concepts incorporated their ideas into forming new businesses.
They examined and analyzed the skills needed for jobs, and the ones they would be most interested in acquiring. The importance of interviewing skills, writing a resume and career opportunities were discussed. Lastly, they explored how our nation is connected to the global economy competing for business or workers around the world. The students played a fascinating game "Mystery Puzzle Cards" where they walk around the room in search of others who have a puzzle card that matches their own piece of the product. Once they discover their product, they discussed the resources needed to produce that product. Since global trade specialization lowers the cost of making products it will reduce prices enabling consumers to benefit from more choices and lower prices.
We appreciate the volunteers who contributed to the success of this program and to Taylor Vogelsang, Education Coordinator, Sarasota/Manatee/Pinellas JA, for her guidance and support.