Unless you live under a rock without a computer, phone, or access to any human beings, you live in a community of people. You not only have the power to make a difference in your own life, but also in the lives of those around you—in your neighborhood. In your community.

Example: In the video Abuelo Park, Abrielle is frustrated that there is no nice place to play or to take her grandfather in his wheelchair. She makes a plan, enlists the help of her neighbors and turns an empty lot into a beautiful park—making a difference in the whole community and launching a career as a landscape architect.


Living in a democracy means that you, as an individual, have a voice in the big things that happen in your community and your country though they may seem way too out of reach. Our country was founded on democracy that gives every single citizen a voice and the ability to impact the community, the government and the future. You really can make a difference!

Example: In the video I Am the Government, Ben, a successful printer in the colonial days of the 1700s, saw a problem—England had way too much control. They were taxing the colonists too much and preventing people from being as successful as they could be. Ben doesn’t just watch this unfold; he speaks up! He uses his printing business to tell people what he thinks and, with the help of his friends, he creates a new kind of government in which all the people are encouraged to express their opinions.

Embracing Change

Change happens. Nothing stays the same forever. Sometimes change—like a move or a new teacher or a new situation—can fill you with fear and really close you down. But if you can accept that change is going to happen, and really use those changes to grow, to learn, and to try new things, you can turn change into positive new opportunities.

Example: In the video Corny but True, Cornelia has a booming popcorn business that she runs on the corner of a busy street in the big city. Business is great until she has to move to the country with her family. Nobody buys her popcorn and her business dies. It could be the end, but Cornelia embraces the change and comes up with a whole new way to sell her popcorn that she never would have thought of back in the city.


An entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business by coming up with new ideas, taking risks, persevering through challenges, believing in him or herself and identifying opportunities. Lots of entrepreneurs give back to their communities by creating new jobs and encouraging other new businesses. Entrepreneurs are ordinary people who do extraordinary things!

Example: In the video Be an Entrepreneur, the whole ATB gang comes together to show what it really means to be an entrepreneur. They all have started new businesses by tapping into their passions, setting goals, accepting risks, thinking creatively and working together to solve problems.


Exploration is all about looking harder, digging deeper, going where no one has gone before and trying new paths. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done!

Example: In the video E-Ship, Ethan’s interests and curiosity lead him to explore the internet and create a never-before-seen way for people to travel.

Failure is OK

Every time you try something that doesn't work, you're one step closer to finding what does work. Mistakes are great teachers—they show you something about how to reach or not reach your goal. Mistakes bring you closer to success, so keep trying. New ideas don’t always work the first time around, but if you fail at something—and everyone does—learning from that failure and moving forward can be the secret to being successful!

Example: In the video Toast of the Town, Grace has a great idea—a toaster that burns your name onto a piece of bread. She tries everything to make it work. She blows fuses, incinerates loaf after loaf and tweaks her prototype each time she fails until she finally creates a Name Toaster that works. It’s the best thing since sliced bread!

Goal Setting

Anything you set your mind to doing involves setting a goal or an objective. Do you want to get home in time for dinner? Better set the goal of getting to the bus before it leaves and make that happen! Do you dream of being an astronaut someday? Better study hard and get good grades. Want to start your own business? Work toward that goal by learning all you can, assembling a team if you need to and persevering through the hard times. In the end the goals you set help you make your own dreams come true.

Example: In the video Drawing Board, Josh is inspired as a kid when he sees an architect’s plan turn into his family’s new house. From that point on he sets goals, works hard to meet them and finally makes his dream of being an architect a reality.


Ideation is a complex word made up of the two words that describe it—idea and creation. Ideation is the creation of a lot of new ideas in response to a problem or roadblock. Ideation is a great skill to have because it lets you realize that any problem or roadblock that you may come across is a great opportunity to create and gather new ideas to help you find solutions.

Example: In the video New Ideas, when Josh and Jenna’s mom is too busy to cook dinner most nights, the kids are faced with the problem of having to come up with ideas for good meals they can make for themselves. They know lots of their friends’ families have the same problem, so Josh and Jenna bring everyone together and come up with lots of ideas for getting decent dinners to all the kids every night. Their ideation and hard work help them launch a successful meal delivery business!

Independent Thinking

Thinking independently means that you can consider things openly and honestly and come up with fresh ideas without any judgment. When you are close-minded you have already made up your mind about something or someone and can’t see beyond what you think you already know. That can make it a lot harder to think creatively, solve problems and meet new friends.

Example: In the video Snow Pals, Lexi and Shiloh discover that regular snowboards just aren’t working for them. They put their heads together to invent a board that they both can ride, and they create a whole new craze on the slopes! Their independent thinking also helps those around them see that it’s OK to be different. Thinking independently can lead to a lot of success.


When you have strength in your own individuality you have already discovered your own sense of self. You know who you are and what is important to you. You know what you are capable of and what drives you. You believe in the power of you!

Example: In the video Tru-D True, Tru-D True loves wearing his hair in lots of wild styles. He is proud of who he is and what he likes to do. He becomes a successful hair stylist despite all the kids who gave him a hard time for being different.


To fully understand something, you have to ask questions. Why is something the way it is? Does it have to be that way? Is there a better way? Ask! The more targeted questions you ask, the more you’ll learn and the more successful you’ll be.

Example: In the video Hammocks, Ally questions the routine of making her bed in the morning. Why does she have to make her bed? Is there some other way? Does she have to sleep in a bed at all? In the end she comes up with a new idea to eliminate one of her chores and starts a booming new business!

Lateral Thinking

Sometimes when you’re trying to solve a problem you tackle it head on and come up with straightforward ideas. But thinking about the issue in a different way may lead to a really cool solution you never even dreamed of. Try turning the problem around and looking at it from a new perspective, a different angle. You will probably find answers and solutions you hadn’t even considered!

Example: In the video Skateboardin’ Gal, skateboarder Grace and science buff Simon each bring a unIque perspective to Grace’s problem of having nowhere to carry all her stuff wHen she’s on her board. They put their heads together, look at the problem from different angles and creaTe an amaZing new skateboard.


If you have the ability to influence and lead it means that people around you respect you and will respond to what you say. You can set a good example, you understand how things and people work together, and you can lead a team toward reaching a goal. A leader manages, motivates, and helps others to work towards the success of the group.

Example: In the video Our Scene, Zoe, a computer whiz, leads a team of talented kids in the creation of an amazing new web site.


When something interests you or you’re passionate about something, you want to know more. Motivation is the drive that makes you want to achieve a goal or conquer a challenge. That kind of motivation comes from inside you—it’s called intrinsic (or internal) motivation. The kind of motivation that comes from outside is called external motivation.

Example: In the video High Winds, Lexi loves the wind that whips around her tall apartment building and likes flying kites out of the windows. Her love of kites motivated her to want to spend more time making them. Her need to make a living motivated her to create a kite business.


Passion is the thing you love doing so much you just want to do it all the time. Maybe it’s baking, making music, sports or writing. It’s such a driving force that it helps shape your interests and eventually your life. Once you find it, all you want to do is work harder, learn more about it, and keep doing it no matter what others think.

Example: In the video Bike Buzz, Tyler finds his passion when he discovers how much he likes fixing bikes.


Persistence is the ability to keep trying to reach your goals and make things happen no matter what obstacles, distractions, and frustrations come in your way. Perseverance is the ability to hang in there when the going gets rough. Persistence and perseverance are a dynamic duo.

Example: In the video Cookie Crumbles, sales are slow at Jenna’s once-thriving cookie business. She tries to figure out why, but sales continue to drop until finally, after much trying, testing and inventing she comes up with a new flavor that’s a smash hit. Her persistence and perseverance made her successful again.

Problem Solving

There are problems that arise every day: what to wear, what to eat, what to do, how to get your homework done or how to help a sick pet. Obstacles are everywhere and they are great springboards for new ideas. Problem solving is figuring out a way to turn the problem into a solution or an answer. Use your imagination—take a look at everyday problems and see if you can discover new ways to solve them. Problem solving can be creative and fun!

Example: In the video Reversal of Fortunes, Zach’s problem is that his pack is way too heavy. How can he carry all his stuff? Zach turns the problem into a lucrative solution when he creates a new pack with wheels that can actually carry him!


You have to own your actions—be reliable to yourself and others, work hard and do the right thing when you take on a task or a job. If you are responsible, you are really in control of the outcome.

Example: In the video Hackers, Cal hacks into his school's computers, gets caught, and ends up discovering that he needs to take responsibility for what he did. Cal makes up for his bad choice by using his skills to protect the school's computer system from hackers. AND he goes on to start his own tech security business.

Risk Acceptance

There’s always someone who is going to say “No” or “That will never work” or “You just can’t do that.” Don’t let that freeze you up. When you have an idea, take the risk and go for it. It may not work, but if you take the risk and try it, your idea just may work out!

Example: In the video Pet Rollers, Zach needs to find a way to control his pets’ shedding—or give them away! He tries lots of new ideas out and finally focuses on one. He decides to ignore the people who think his new idea won’t work. He takes a risk and creates a new product called “Pet Rollers” that becomes a big hit!


Self-confidence is knowing that you have what it takes to navigate any situation. It’s about believing in yourself and knowing that you are able to rise to the occasion, get the help you need, solve problems that come up and succeed no matter what.

Example: In the video Emotia-Hats, Nickie is nervous about being at a new school, but she has a new idea she wants to make happen. Can she do it? How will she do it? Does she have what it takes? Nickie taps into her confidence, draws on her resources, and works hard to turn her crazy new idea into a reality that rocks the world of fashion!

Sense of Self

Get to know yourself! Since there is only one YOU, there’s no one else exactly like you. Just like fingerprints are all unique, so are a person's interests, skills and passions. Once you tap into what makes you YOU, you’ll unlock the secret of how to enjoy your future and gain a great sense of power.

Example: In the video Show It, Brady got a better sense of himself when he learned about his strengths and weaknesses. He wasn't so great at sports, but he was awesome at sports photography. That discovery led him to a new and successful career.

Skill Building

People who have a good education and know how they learn best have more control over what happens in their lives, so it’s up to you to invest time and energy in your own learning. Whatever you want to do in life, whether it’s playing the piano, being a pilot or a basketball player, you will need to learn and to practice. You are in control of what you want to do and what you want to be!

Example: In the video Treasure Hunt, Justin wants to take his love of collecting stuff at garage sales to a new level, so he learns and practices new skills in order to turn his hobby into a profitable business.

Systems Thinking

The system is the big picture. Sometimes we get caught up in looking only at smaller pieces and we get a little stuck. To get unstuck what you need to do is take a step back and change your point of view. When you do this you can get a fresh take on things. You can recognize patterns and connections, and understand that there are lots of small pieces that come together to make a whole, big picture.

Example: In the video This is My Neighborhood, Amity’s neighborhood is drab, empty and depressed. She looks at the big picture and decides to bring her community together and improve their neighborhood by creating a new place to eat, dance and hang out. Once the business begins to boom, more businesses pop up as more people come and more jobs are created. The neighborhood is improved because Amity sees how it's all connected and takes the first step to make a difference.

Taking Charge

YOU are the one in charge. It doesn’t mean that you are bossing people around to get your own way; it means that you are not a victim and you know that blaming other people won’t solve your problems. Being in charge of yourself is about accepting that success is up to you. Success is controllable and connected to your own perseverance and willingness to try. So try out your ideas, don’t be afraid to commit to something—go for it!

Example: In the video Bugged Out, Ally has a crazy idea of getting a bug’s eye view by strapping tiny cameras on cockroaches to see where they go. It fails and fails again, but each time she learns something new until she's able to make a successful camera, save a little girl and launch a new business!

More Great Words from ATB!


An assumption is an idea that you automatically believe to be correct without even questioning it. In some cases this may be valid. It is an assumption that the sky will darken in the evening. But all assumptions can (and should) be questioned or challenged. For example will the night sky seem dark in the middle of brightly lit Times Square?

Example: In the video Hammocks, Ally questions the assumption that kids have to make their bed every morning. Why does she have to make her bed? Is there some other way? Does she have to sleep in a bed at all? In the end she comes up with a new idea to eliminate one of her chores and starts a booming new business!


When a group of people shares ideas in order to find creative ways to solve a problem or do a task, that's brainstorming. It's a good way to encourage new ways of thinking because people bring different experiences and skills and can combine their ideas in surprising ways.

Example: In the video Charge It!, Tyler and his friends brainstorm a new way to generate electricity when a storm knocks out the power in their town.


A photographic print of architectural drawings, usually white lines on blue paper. Blueprints are a type of schematic. (See Schematic).

Example: In the video Drawing Board, a blueprint is used literally as a plan for building a house, but it's also used as a symbol of Josh's goal for his life: to become an architect. When he sets that goal as a child, he creates a blueprint for his life and builds his plan around reaching the goal.


An organization or fund set up to help people in need.

Example: In the video Be an Entrepreneur, the whole ATB gang comes together to show what it really means to be an entrepreneur. Part of starting your own successful business is creating the ability to share some of the profits by giving to charity.


A person who uses a product or service. In some cases, the consumer and the customer are the same. But sometimes a customer might buy a product for someone else who uses it. For example, you might be the customer who buys some perfume for your mom. In that case, your mom is the consumer.

Example: In the video Cookie Crumbles, it takes Jenna 129 tries to find a cookie recipe that will be a hit with consumers.


A person who buys a product or service from someone else.

Example: In the video Tru-D True, Tru-D True finds daring customers (also called clients) for his wild styles and opens his own hair salon.


Economy can mean different things depending on its context. It can mean the efficient use of money and other resources, or a savings of money, or a system for producing, distributing and consuming products and services. This last definition is what people mean when they talk about the economy being strong or weak.

Example: In the video This is My Neighborhood, Amity helps improve the economy of her whole neighborhood when she starts a new business.


To empower someone is to grant that person power, permission or authority to do something. When you are empowered, you have power and control over something.

Example: In the video Sense of Self, Brady first struggles to find what he's good at, but when he discovers he loves photography AND he's good at it, he's empowered. His power is his own and he uses it to rock the sports world.


This can mean several things—a willingness to take action, a challenging project, or a business organization.

Example: In the video Emotia-Caps, Nickie is very enterprising when she takes the time to learn new skills, build a team and create a new business. Her hard work turns her crazy new idea into a successful enterprise and rocks the world of fashion!


A purpose or intention that someone desires and works toward.

Example: In the video Drawing Board, Josh is inspired by seeing his family's house being designed and built. He sets a goal for himself to become an architect and makes a life plan to reach the goal.


When people talk about growth of a business, they mean serving more customers, making more products, and becoming larger or more complex.

Example: In the video Snow Pals, Lexi and Shiloh invent a new type of snowboard that they both can ride and create a whole new craze on the slopes. The growth of their new business was fantastic and soon they were “making money hand over fist!”


As a verb, to influence means to affect or change someone or something. As a noun it means someone or something that has an effect on others' actions or beliefs.

Example: In the video Our Scene, Zoe, a computer whiz, uses her influence to lead a team of talented kids in the creation of an amazing new web site.


Someone who runs or directs a business or a part of a business.

Example: In the video Our Scene, Zoe had a great idea to create a web site where kids can meet. She knows she can't do it all herself, but she can bring a team together and keep them inspired and focused on the goal. By having the vision and stepping up to take the lead, she becomes an awesome project manager.


What you believe about life, work and money is your philosophy—a system of values by which one lives. It’s partly taught by your family and shaped by the experiences you have had in your life.

Example: In the video Hackers, Cal develops a new philosophy about using his computer hacking skills. At first, he hacks into his school’s computers to play a trick, but he gets caught, and realizes that it’s way better to use your skills for good than for harm. He develops a new tech security business helping schools prevent people from hacking their computer systems.


The power, freedom and right to do, think, speak, etc. according to your choice.

Example: In the video I Am the Government, Ben and his pals Tom and George in the colonial days of the 1700s, put together a little document called the Declaration of Independence that calls for people to have a voice in their own government. The document gives Americans the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


A way of doing things that is indirect or not obvious.


Example: In the video Skateboardin’ Gal, Grace at first thinks Simon’s scientific approach to solving her skateboard problem is “a little oblique,” but she soon realizes that it’s really helpful to look at things from a different angle. Grace and Simon end up putting their heads together to create an amazing new skateboard!


A possibility that comes about because of good timing or a good combination of circumstances.

Example: In the video Corny but True, Cornelia turns her family’s move from the city to the country into a new opportunity for her popcorn business.


A partnership is when two or more people or groups join forces to do business together. Usually it's a way to combine different sets of skills and resources and then to share in the profits of the business.

Example: In the video Charge It!, Tyler and his bike-riding friends put their heads together to solve their lack of electricity problem when the lights go out in their town. They form a partnership and work together to create an innovative new way to generate power.


Something that is produced or made through work.

Example: In the video Cookie Crumbles, Jenna works hard to come up with a new product when sales slow down at her cookie company. Her brand new cookie flavor is a smash and sales go through the roof!


Retail refers to selling products directly to a consumer—someone who will be using the products—rather than to someone who will resell them (that would be a reseller or wholesaler). Retail sales are usually in small amounts and happen through a store.

Example: In the video Treasure Hunt, Justin decides to sell his junk treasures at garage sales, retail and on the internet.


Revenue is the money a person or business gets from a business, investment or property.

Example: In the video This is My Neighborhood, Amity begins to make lots of revenue (money) when her business takes off!


A diagram, chart or drawing that shows the layout of something. (See Blueprint)

Example: In the video Drawing Board, Josh is amazed to see that his family's house started with an architectural schematic. This realization helps him see that setting a goal starts with making a plan and building on it.


Some businesses provide products, while others provide services. A service business is set up to supply some kind of need the public has, like repair, delivery or transportation.

Example: In the video New Ideas, Josh and Jenna turn their dinner-making duty into a thriving home-cooked catering and meal delivery service.


The method or process of solving a problem. It can also mean the answer to a problem.

Example: In the video Skateboardin’ Gal, Grace is having trouble carrying her stuff when she rides her skateboard. She finds a solution from “an unexpected source” when she and her science-buff friend Simon put their heads together and create an amazing new skateboard!


An amount of money citizens must give to the government to pay for services and facilities the government provides. There are different kinds of taxes; on a person's income (the money people make in their jobs), on sales of products, and on property, like houses and cars.

Example: In the video I Am the Government, the British government was making the American colonists pay too many taxes, so Ben and his friends took a stand and fought for their independence.


An area of land defined by certain physical features.

Example: In the opening segment to every ATB video, Peabody drives his ATB over some very bumpy terrain!


Money that is paid or earned for work or services.

Example: In the video Be an Entrepreneur, the ATB kids started lots of business and now provide jobs to a lot of people. All the people that work in their shops and factories will earn wages.