Sixth grade students from Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s School traveled to BizTown on Nov. 6 and worked together in the simulated city.

Sixth grade students from Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s School traveled to BizTown on Nov. 6 and worked together in the simulated city. JA BizTown is a 10,000 square foot kid-sized city within Junior Achievement headquarters in Maplewood.

“Junior Achievement uses hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life,” said St. Mary’s teacher Annette Lux. “JA BizTown is a simulated city where students spend the day acting as business leaders and employees offering public and private goods and services.”

Lux and Kathryn Serra, Public School teacher, work together to prepare the students in both schools. “Several weeks of classroom learning concludes in a one day visit to this fully-interactive simulated free market lab. Students become adults for a day,” said Serra. “The students work together in 15 different businesses that run during the simulation.” As part of the classroom preparation for BizTown, the students apply and interview for jobs at those businesses.

At BizTown students learn what it takes to run a successful business, manage a checking account and work as a team. As an example, Lux said one of the businesses is the newspaper. She explained the students have to produce a newspaper with photos by the end of the day, sell it, distribute it and pay back their business loan. “It’s quite a task for them, with lots of team work. It’s just wonderful to watch the students work together in this simulation,” said Lux.