JA Our Community®

JA Our Community® allows students, through hands-on activities, to learn about workers, the work they perform, why workers are paid, what taxes are and how they are used, and how and where to save money.

JA Our Community® is a series of five activities recommended for students in second grade. The average time for each activity is 30 minutes. Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed activity plans for the volunteer and materials for 30 students.

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

  • Concepts – Ballot, Banking, Benefits, Business, Choices, Circular flow of money, Community, Defect, Division of labor, Economic institutions, Goods, Government, Incentives, Interdependence, Jobs, Money, Needs, Productivity, Quality, Resources, Services, Skills, Specialization of labor, Taxes, Trade-offs, Vote, Wants
  • Skills – Comparing, Critical thinking, Constructing data, Decision-making, Developing ideas, Displaying data, Formulating questions, Identifying choices, Interpreting data, Listening responsively, Making observations, Matching, Predicting based on data, Problem-solving, Role-playing, Teamwork

Program Components

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

Activity One: How Does a Community Work?

Students identify typical jobs by studying a poster that illustrates a community. They develop an awareness of how people live and work together in a community.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify a variety of jobs in the community
  • Recognize how people live and work in a community
  • Become aware of a wide range of job opportunities

Session Two: Sweet “O” Donuts

Students, individually and in groups, use different production strategies to simulate producing donuts for Sweet “O” Donuts.

Session Objectives:

  • Define production
  • Compare unit and assembly-line production methods
  • Explain that different strategies are used to produce different types of products

Session Three: The Role of Government

Students learn about the economic role of government in a community by identifying services that government provides to citizens. Students also recognize that government must collect taxes to pay for these services.

Session Objectives:

  • Recognize government jobs in the community
  • Understand why taxation is necessary

Session Four: A New Business

Students determine the best use for the empty store on the How Does a Community Work? poster. The step-by-step, decision-making process helps students understand how group decisions are made.

Session Objectives:

  • Define choices
  • Use a decision-making model
  • Recognize the need to make informed decisions
  • Take personal responsibility for decisions

Session Five: Money Moves

Students learn about an economy’s circular flow of money.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify circumstances of money being exchanged for goods or services
  • Recognize how money flows through a community’s economy

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