WIND POINT — Second-grader Kiran Shimp put flour, egg and milk stickers on the back of a paper doughnut as fast as she could.
She was barely finished when fellow second-grader Cameron McPhee grabbed the paper and added filling to the doughnut’s center using a red crayon.
Cameron sang to himself as he moved his crayon in careful circles and then passed the paper off to second-grader Arjun Kumar, who quickly began cutting out the doughnut.
Such hurried activity was part of a lesson last Tuesday at the Prairie School, where student teams demonstrated how assembly lines produce items much faster than individuals. The lesson was part of the school’s Junior Achievement Day, when about 10 community volunteers spent the day in kindergarten through fourth-grade classrooms explaining business concepts to students.
“I learned how people work in their town and how you have to make things correctly or you don’t make any money and you need money to buy food like from the grocery store,” said second-grader Abigail Wagner.
Prairie students like Abigail attended Junior Achievement Day for the first time last Tuesday but that wasn’t the first time the school worked with Racine County Junior Achievement, the local chapter of a national nonprofit that brings economics to kindergarten through 12th-grade students through hands-on curriculum delivered by trained volunteers. Racine County Junior Achievement works each year with most Racine Unified schools and Racine area private schools, including Prairie, 4050 Lighthouse Drive.
Typically, Junior Achievement volunteers visit a classroom once a week for at least five weeks, explained Debie Truckey, Junior Achievement district director. But last Tuesday, Prairie elementary school teachers instead cleared their class schedules for a full day of business lessons.
Kindergarten students read stories about exchanging money and selling items. First-graders learned about how jobs help families meet their needs and wants. Second-graders, including the doughnut makers, heard about how communities and businesses are connected. Third-graders talked about city zoning and using checks for purchases. Fourth-graders learned about business profits and losses, and studied good business locations based on U.S. resources, according to Joan Fergus, program manager for Racine County Junior Achievement.
In a second-grade classroom, Junior Achievement volunteer Lisa Cohan started by asking students to list places that make up a community. The students mentioned movie theaters, libraries, zoos, pizza places, hospitals and more.
Once they had an understanding of a community, students focused on the businesses in a community, listening as Cohan explained how community members and businesses — like doughnut shops — interact so everyone can get things they need.
“Maybe it can encourage them to be a business person in the community,” said Cohan, an MBA student at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “It’s important for the kids to see people in the community are willing to come out and educate them.”