JA Our City®

JA Our City® introduces students to the basics of financial literacy, the characteristics of cities, and how people and businesses in cities manage their money.

Students will explore zoning found within a city; the importance of money to a city, paying taxes, and how people use different methods to pay for goods and services. They also will explore how financial institutions, entrepreneurs, and news media contribute to the financial well-being of a city.

JA Our City® is for students in third grade. It is composed of five sessions, and the average length of each session is 45 minutes. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed plans for the volunteer and materials for 32 students.

JA Our City® enhances students’ learning of the following concepts and skills:

  • Concepts – Banking, Business, Careers, City, City planner, Communication, Consumer, Decision, Economic development, Economic institutions, Entrepreneur, Incentives, Income, Interdependence, Jobs, Money, Producer, Quality, Resources, Skills, Specialization, Zones
  • Skills – Applying information, Applying thinking skills, Compiling data, Conducting research, Constructing data, Creating readable documents, Decision-making, Developing ideas, Drawing, Filling out forms, Following directions, Identifying zones, Interpreting data, Interpreting directions, Listening critically, Mapping information, Map reading, Making observations, Math computations, News writing, Reading data, Responding to written and oral presentations, Role-playing, Teamwork, Using scale

Program Components

The key learning objectives listed beside each activity state the skills and knowledge students will gain.

Session One: A Place Where People Live, Work, and Play

Students identify the different zones used in city planning and apply the information to organize businesses.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify the zones found within a city
  • Describe the goods and services provided by businesses
  • Match local businesses to specific city zones

Session Two: A Place Where People Spend Money

Students examine the importance of money to a city and how people use different methods to pay for goods and services.

Session Objectives:

  • Explain the importance of money in a city, including the role of taxes
  • Understand the differences between needs and wants
  • Examine the different ways that people pay for goods and services

Session Three: A Place Where People Bank

Students see the contributions of financial institutions to a city and how those institutions help businesses and people achieve their economic goals.

Session Objectives:

  • Summarize the contribution of financial institutions to a city
  • Manage a personal bank account

Session Four: A Place Where People Dine

Students learn the role of an entrepreneur by exploring the process involved in starting one type of business, a restaurant. They learn how businesses promote a healthy economy within a city.

Session Objectives:

  • Define consumer, producer, and entrepreneur
  • Explore the role of a business owner by operating a business
  • Apply money management strategies to a business account

Session Five: A Place Where People Communicate

The students learn the importance of news media to the financial well-being of a city.

Key Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:
  • Explain the role of the news media in a city
  • Describe how news is delivered in various formats, including print, electronic, and human sources
  • Recognize the importance of the news media and technology in a community

All JA programs are designed to support the skills and competencies identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. These programs also augment school-based, work-based, and connecting activities for communities with school-to-work initiatives.

For additional information on this and all Junior Achievement programs, please visit