Real World Business By Alexandra Lerner, Sarah Datnow and Sabrina Feldman
(Note from Mrs. King: Every year, our fifth graders dive into the world of economics and finance. Did you get to do that when you were in 5th grade? I bet not! Read on to find out what the fortunate SDJA students experience and learn.)
Normally the adults are in charge, but at JA Biztown, the kids own it all.
Welcome to JA Biztown, where kids like us prefer to do things their own way. Since the very beginning of this experience, each student was assigned a job. Throughout BizTown each and every one of the employees was given a chance to complete and achieve their goals. The students tried hard and in the end made it all worth the work.
While at Biztown, all of the fifth graders were given multiple hours to work. In each hour there was a certain amount of work that had to be completed by a deadline. Every company had different requirements that they had to meet before their breaks. For example, the Union-Tribune had to complete the newspaper by the second break, so that they would have time to print and pass it out to the citizens. The bank had to make sure that everyone was cashing their paychecks and paying off their business loans, and NBC 7 news had to get all the companies advertisements done before the closing of Biztown.
Before going on the JA Biztown field trip, we had to learn how to fill out checks, deposit money, record our transactions, and spend money without bouncing a check. When we arrived at JA Biztown, we learned that we hadn’t been prepared for the world of economics. It all started with getting fined. If you have no money in your account, there’s nothing you can do but wait it out. You have to deposit your first paycheck, take out the amount of money you had been fined and record that transaction. But it didn’t stop there. Everyone had to deal with their company’s money situations. Not paying off the loan meant making no profit and hitting rock bottom with a loss before selling out. You had to find a way to make more money or else your company would become broke.
Most of us got the hang of dealing with our money, but it was up to us to decide how much money we were going to spend during our breaks. After cashing our paychecks, there was a huge stoplight that either glowed red, yellow, or green, indicating when we would go on break. Everyone enjoyed their break time, but some students also ran out of money during that time.
Every student that went on this field trip came back with rather positive feedback. Almost every business thought that writing the checks was one of the best parts of the the day, aside from getting to experience that feeling of maturity that all the students showed. Also every single employee came back saying that finance was the hardest of all and paying off the loans got really stressful especially if no one was coming by your business. By the end of the day, only four businesses managed to pay off their business loan; but honestly, everyone succeeded in being a quality business
This Biztown experience gave all of the students an idea of some of the responsibilities we will one day have to take on. We learned that communication is a major part of running a business, advertising for a company isn’t as easy as it seems, and no business stands a chance without a leader you can rely on.
Want to take a peek at our day? You can, right here.