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Middle School Math Students Participate in 'Classroom Economy'
Posted 11/15/2018 09:00AM

Middle School Math Teacher Jesse Hardman has introduced a year-long experiential learning project that teaches fiscal responsibility and money management through daily role-playing activities in a “Classroom Economy.”

My Classroom Economy is a program Mr. Hardman used in the past that is described as follows: “A simple classroom economic system based on the idea that students need to earn school ‘dollars’ so that they can rent their own desks. By bringing real-world scenarios into the classroom, students see the impact of their decisions to save, spend, and budget.”

At the start of each trimester, students apply for different jobs that serve various needs of the classroom. Each job has specific responsibilities and a designated salary. Students earn bonuses for excellent work, and fines are imposed for actions that impede the success of the classroom as a whole. There is a weekly payday (paid by a classroom check), and rent is due at the end of each month. There is a charity system for students who want to help others who may come up short in making their rent payments. Students have the opportunity to apply for new jobs each trimester.

The program was introduced at the beginning of the school year and students recently participated in their final banking day of the trimester. Having paid monthly rent, purchased privileges such as homework passes and extra credit points, students banked their accumulated savings. Every grade reached the savings threshold required this trimester to earn a pizza party. The savings thresholds will increase as the year goes on. And, like in the real world, taxes are due in April.

In a letter to parents, Mr. Hardman explained, “The classroom economy helps students learn valuable life skills such as organization, the value of saving, and delayed gratification. Rather than being told about the importance of these skills, they actually experience them.”

Following is a list of classroom jobs and their respective duties:

  • Attendance Monitor - Take daily attendance and record absences. Provide students with makeup materials when they return to class.

  • Banker - Keep banking records for 4-6 students. Accept money for deposits. Pay out money for withdraws. Keep cash on hand to meet requests. Deposit remaining cash in the Central Classroom Bank.

  • Clerk - hand out papers and materials, such as art supplies. Collect papers and homework. Organize class supply shelves.

  • Custodian - Keep the writing boards and countertops clean. Tidy the classroom areas as needed. Make sure recycling items are placed where they should be.

  • Messenger - Deliver written and spoken messages to people throughout the building. Answer classroom phone.

  • News Director - Keep the class updated on current events. Research topics of interest to the class. Write articles for the class newsletter.

  • Substitute - Perform the job of any absent student.

  • Technology Supervisor - Turn the lights and computers on and off at appropriate times. Assist with technology tasks such as setting up projectors, preparing cameras, or using audio equipment.

After Thanksgiving break, students will be submitting applications for new jobs.

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