JA Our Families

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1stgrProgram Overview

Through hands-on classroom activities, JA Our Families introduces students to the intersection of entrepreneurship and first-grade social studies learning objectives, including how family members’ jobs and businesses contribute to the well-being of the family.

Following participation in the program, students will be able to:

  • Describe the similarities and differences found in families.
  • Categorize needs and wants.
  • Describe the jobs people do.
  • Analyze their own skills to determine ways they can support their families.
  • Identify the goods and services provided by local businesses.
  • Explain one of the entrepreneurial characteristics—Satisfy a Need or a Want.

Session Overviews & Objectives

Session One – Our Families

Overview: The students discover how families are alike and different and how they can work together to make where they live a better place.


  • Understand the similarities and differences between families.
  • Recognize the importance of individuals and families as part of neighborhoods.

Session Two – Our Families’ Needs and Wants

Overview: The students become aware that all families need food, clothing, and shelter to live. They begin to understand and distinguish needs from wants.


  • Categorize needs and wants.
  • Describe the difference between a need and a want.

Session Three – Great Job!

Overview: The students examine the jobs family members have, including operating their own businesses, and the ways people earn money to provide for a family’s needs and wants.


  • Define the terms job, business, and entrepreneur.
  • Identify the jobs people do.
  • Analyze their own skills to determine ways they can support family members.

Session Four – Businesses in Our Neighborhood

Overview: The students use the Floor Map to locate businesses throughout the neighborhood. They also identify locations for new entrepreneurial businesses, along with the goods or services these businesses will provide.


  • Interpret map symbols.
  • Identify the goods or services businesses provide.

Session Five – Our New Business

Overview: Students become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses.


  • Describe one of the entrepreneurial characteristics—Satisfy a Need or Want.

Program Basics

  • Includes a series of five sessions recommended for students in first grade.
  • Average time for each session is 30 minutes.
  • Materials are packaged in a self-contained kit that includes detailed plans for the volunteer and materials for 30 students.
  • Introduces the concept of needs and wants and investigates the ways families plan for and acquire goods and services.
  • Session-specific, age-appropriate materials included to increase student interaction and emphasize JA’s experiential approach to learning.
  • Correlates to state social studies, English, and math standards, as well as to the Common Core State Standards in English/Language Arts and mathematics.

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

Concepts—Business, Citizens, Earning, Economic incentives, Economic institutions, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Family, Fill a need, Goods and services, Human resources, Income, Interdependence, Job, Money, Scarcity, Shelter, Skills, Spend, Traditions, Wants and needs, Work

Skills—Analyzing information, Creative thinking, Decision making, Differentiating, Drawing, Following directions, Listening and responding, Making observations, Map reading, Matching, Math calculations, Patterns, Reading, Recognizing and interpreting symbols, Sequencing, Verbal communication, Working in pairs

Training Videos

Courtesy of Junior Achievement of South Dakota: