“Can you sell a defective product?” a Junior Achievement instructor asked Mrs. Botti’s class of second graders, who responded in a mirthful chorus of “Nos.”
Just moments before, the students learned practical information about businesses and how all jobs help a community. After being presented with a hypothetical scenario – such as opening a box expecting a new PlayStation but finding it broken instead – students agreed that creating products without defects was important.
Following the discussion, the instructor led the students in a simulation that taught them production methods and how to produce quality work. They pretended to be employees at a bakery and used paper cut-outs, ingredient stickers and markers to “produce” donuts. Then they pushed their desks together and, in teams of three or four, competed against their classmates in a challenge to make the most defect-free donuts in five minutes.
For a donut to count in the competition, its center had to be neatly colored and the correct combination of ingredient stickers had to be placed on the back of the cut-out.
As the students raced against the clock, one cried out, “I just made two!” Another said, “Hustle, hustle, hustle,” and “we don’t want to lose customers!”
Following the contest, the students also learned about taxes, decision making and how money flows in an economy.
In Mrs. Simon’s third grade class, students learned about the importance of money coming into a city and what it takes to build one. The students pretended to be city planners and made important zoning decisions about the buildings they constructed – placing them, based on their services and goods, on a simulation city map. Later in the day, they would learn how to write checks and save money in a bank.
Mrs. Botti and Mrs. Simon’s second and third graders weren’t the only ones to participate in these hands-on games. Volunteers from Junior Achievement’s Young Professionals Board visited Kelly on December 2nd to teach grade-specific, hands-on lessons in financial literacy, entrepreneurism and workforce development in all the classes. As a thank you to the volunteers for their work with the students, the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation generously paid for their lunches.
Junior Achievement is an organization that teaches students how to succeed in a global economy in schools across the country.