Fifth Graders Learning Financial Literacy Through Junior Achievement BizTown

February 02, 2017 06:06 PM

Managing a business, taking out a loan, using a debit card and earning a paycheck: these are all real-life activities for adults.

At Junior Achievement BizTown, fifth graders are doing these things as well, learning valuable lessons about managing finances and how the economy works.


A fully-interactive free market lab with 15 stores, students become adults for a day in this 10,000-square-foot kid-sized city.

"So you have ten dollars and 18 cents?" one student asked another in the mock bank.

From the bank to the city hall, a construction center to a radio station, these 10- and 11-year-olds work and earn paychecks, open bank accounts, buy and sell goods and vote.

"We all have a job we have to do, and if we all do it, it ends up working out," fifth-grade student Quinn said. "I like that, I find it really fun."

Quinn was elected mayor of BizTown, a job with duties like taking the town census.

"How many employees do you have?" he asked another student.

Taylor interviewed to become the CEO of the wellness center.

"We do a heart rate check and an eye check," she said.  

Another student, Rahmo, is an energy engineer.

"Over there my team is making a bench, and I'm making a fan," she said.

As students work in their community they learn about financial literacy, bringing a month of in-school learning to life.

"We really believe this is a great opportunity for students to plant those seeds and really get excited about their future," Jennifer Baldwin of Junior Achievement BizTown said.

One-hundred twenty three fifth grade students attended the event Thursday. Over the course of a year, about 15,000 students from around the region experience BizTown, and the demand for the experience is growing.

"It goes way beyond what we can do in the classroom, there is no way we can recreate this at our school," fifth grade teacher Shannon Snesrud said.

Parent volunteers say the lessons learned are invaluable.

"It teachers them to be responsible, to watch their checkbook and how businesses are really run. I think this is the greatest thing and fifth grade is a good time to start," mother Vikki Zahn said.

Schools from around the metro are scheduled to visit Junior Achievement BizTown the rest of the month.

Junior Achievement relies on donations and volunteers to run its events.


Jessica Miles

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