The McGrath Family JA BizTown®

The McGrath Family JA BizTown curriculum cover

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The McGrath Family JA BizTown
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The JA BizTown program provides educators with lessons and resources to effectively integrate financial literacy and work and career readiness into the elementary school classroom.
The program supports critical thinking skills and student engagement, and helps students connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world.
JA BizTown consists of 12 in-class teacher-led sessions prior to the simulation and one in-class session following the simulation, with a culminating 4–5 hour visit to a hands-on simulated community.

Pillars of Student Success Entrepreneurship:
Financial Literacy:
Work Readiness:
Program Implementation Program Grade-Level
JA-Capstone Grade 5
Program Concepts Program Skills
Advertising, Business management, Careers, Check register, Circular flow, Economics, Financial Institutions, Free enterprise, Goods and services, Interests and skills, Jobs, Operating costs, Payment methods, Performance evaluation, Personal finance, Quality business, Resources (natural, human and capital), Running a business, Scarcity, and Soft Skills. Active listening, Applying Information, Brainstorming, Calculation, Charting, Collaboration, Communication (verbal and written), Comparing and contrasting, Computation, Cooperation, Creativity, Critical thinking, Data collection and interpretation, Decision making, Definitions, Demonstration, Describing consequences, Determining cause and effect, Filling out forms, Following written and oral directions, Graphing, Identifying, Interview skills, Listening, Observing, Organizing, Planning, Price setting, Problem solving, Reading for information, Research, Resume preparation, Role-playing, Self-reflection, Showing responsibility, Soft skills (customer service, punctuality, and dressing appropriately), Spending, Teamwork, Time management, Writing.

Program Sessions

Financial Services

Students are introduced to services provided by financial institutions and discover the connection between spending and having money in a bank. They apply for a bank account in preparation for their JA BizTown visit.

Checking Accounts

Students learn how to endorse and deposit a check and how to manage a checking account register. They also learn the consequence of writing checks without sufficient funds. This lesson stresses making and recording deposits.

Savings Accounts

Students practice check-writing skills and discover the benefits of using interest-earning savings accounts to save money. They play a saving and spending game to reinforce the concepts introduced.

Debit Cards

Students discover ways to complete purchase transactions electronically. They explore the difference between a debit card and a credit card.

Circular Flow of Economic Activity

Students discover the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a community and examine the flow of goods, services, money, and resources between people and businesses. Students take a pledge to become citizens of JA BizTown.

Free Enterprise

Students experience an activity that illustrates the basics of free enterprise and allows them the opportunity to produce goods and services. Students begin to see how applying these concepts will help them participate in the JA BizTown simulation.

Public Goods and Services

Students recognize that both businesses and individuals pay taxes. They discover the characteristics of public goods and services and identify familiar items that are supported by taxes, including libraries, schools, roads, fire and police services, and more.

Interests and Skills

Students learn how their interests and skills can be linked to various career alternatives. This lesson emphasizes STEM and high-demand careers. Students explore four interest-based career types and demonstrate appropriate workplace behaviors.

Applying for a Job

Students learn about the various steps required to apply for and obtain a job. In addition, they engage in hands-on activities, including the completion of a job application and participation in practice job interviews. These activities help prepare students for their JA BizTown jobs. Teacher guidance on how to effectively manage student job interviews and elections prior to the simulation is provided.

Business Costs

Students learn about various factors associated with operating a business. In preparation for their visit to JA BizTown, students work in business teams to determine the components of a successful business operation.

Setting Prices

Students recognize the importance of accurately setting the prices for goods and services to earn a profit. Through hands-on learning activities, they explore pricing and its connection to revenue and profit in JA BizTown.

Visit Preparation

Students learn about the importance of advertising as a method of marketing the goods and/or services offered by various businesses. Working in business teams, students develop advertisements to market their JA BizTown businesses and complete their final preparations for their on-site visit.

The Visit

Students participate in the JA BizTown simulation.


Students reflect on their JA BizTown experience and further identify the relevance of classroom learning to their future plans and goals.

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