Teachers from Summerfield Crossings Elementary School receiving JA BizTown In a Box for their classrooms.

During the summer of 2020, Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay launched two free hands-on learning programs for fifth-graders called JA BizTown In a Box and JA BizTown Adventures through virtual and inside-the-classroom activities. Both of these programs provide students with a solid foundation of economics, business and free enterprise education.

Jonny Sutherland, marketing and communications director at Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, stated how JA BizTown In a Box came into fruition.

“When we realized that the COVID-19 restrictions would result in fifth-graders missing out on the JA BizTown experience, our team brainstormed a resolution that resulted in JA BizTown In a Box,” Sutherland said.

JA BizTown In a Box comes neatly packaged in a box with lesson plans, materials that educators can utilize to create role-playing learning experiences for their students and more. Specifically, JA BizTown In a Box includes activities not only for emphasizing design thinking STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), but also ones modified for the in-classroom JA BizTown experience and much more.

With those students who participate, Sutherland hopes that they will understand the importance of a well-functioning economy, banking procedures, basics of operating a business and more.

With JA BizTown Adventures, it offers virtual students an opportunity to join in on JA BizTown too. From the comfort of students’ homes, JA BizTown Adventures gives them a glimpse of five roles within the virtual business world spectrum, such as CEO (Chief Executive Officer), a financial expert, salesperson, innovator and consumer. When students complete JA BizTown Adventures, they will gain a 360-degree view of how a business functions and how money flows through the economy.

Sutherland mentioned that it will remain an active option for the near future.

“All in all, our plan is for all of the Hillsborough County schools to get exposure with either JA BizTown In a Box or JA BizTown Adventures,” Sutherland said.

For more information, visit https://jatampabay.org. For questions, contact Stephanie Docsol, director of Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay, at Stephanie.docsol@ja.org.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.