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Sacred Heart students attend real-world simulation in Charlotte

Fifth-graders at Sacred Heart Catholic School wrapped up their financial literacy unit by attending Junior Achievement Biztown in Charlotte with Selwyn Elementary School students.

BizTown combines in-class learning with a daylong visit to a simulated town where elementary students operate banks, manage restaurants, write checks and vote for mayor. The program helps students connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world.

Sacred Heart students prepared for the program with more than 20 hours of in-class instruction on business, personal finance and community.

At BizTown, the students practiced running five businesses — Harris Teeter, Microsoft, Charlotte Business Journal, North End Medical and Regions Bank — through real-world titles such as CEO, CFO, human resources manager and marketing manager.

Students also opened savings accounts, used debit cards for purchases and calculated their checkbook balances based on paychecks and debit purchases. Sacred Heart was represented in the BizTown city hall with a council member who assisted the mayor.

Lynn Frank, fifth-grade teacher at Sacred Heart, said she felt the experience helped connect curriculum standards with “the real world.”

“It’s essential that we know our math facts, but if we don’t understand debit, credit and balancing checking accounts, then we have failed as teachers,” she said.

As an example, Frank spoke of her students assigned to the Charlotte Business Journal at Biztown. The students had to write articles for the newspaper they produced and were able to see firsthand the value of grammar and writing when 200 of their peers were reading what they wrote, she said.

“If what we teach inside the classroom can’t be applied outside the classroom, we need to question that content,” said Frank. “This experience has truly made my fifth-grade daily lessons much more important in my students’ eyes. Now they are hungry to learn more.”

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