The Business Behind Classroom Economies: An Information Resource Guide

Classroom economy is essential for all students to understand because they will be dealing with the economy in the real world. It prepares the students and provides integral hands-on experience on how the national economy functions. Classroom economy also helps to instill a stronger sense of responsibility in students, nurturing them to grow up to become more responsible adults. Let’s take a deeper look at classroom economies. Economics is an elementary part of social studies curriculum but it can be hard for younger students to grasp the principles of economics. In this sense, a classroom economy can invigorate the education process by serving as a fun way for students to act as economists as well as consumers in a classroom setting. A classroom economy can help to promote an understanding of basic economics principles and it also functions as a simple behavior management system wherein students become more responsible financially.

Objective of Class Economy

With the help of a classroom economy, students will:

  • Compare their classroom economy system over history and time.
  • Perform classroom tasks in order to earn their daily salaries.
  • Evaluate the importance of their classroom tasks along with their daily responsibilities.
  • Be taught about the importance on saving money.
  • Understand that every decision has an opportunity cost.
  • Participate in designing their classroom economy to mirror activity in the real world.
  • Learn how to make a budget of their funds and balance their bank accounts.
  • Study the economic trends in their classroom economy.
  • Observe the behavior of classmates as consumers to learn about the law of demand.
  • Learn about how inflation works and how it affects their classroom economy.

How Students Can Earn Money


Pay from Their Class Jobs

  • In the classroom management system, students can decide how much is a particular job worth, and through the system, they can establish a pay scale. Jobs can be easily divided into various listings such as popular jobs or fun jobs to encourage the kids to sign up for such tasks. Students can either be paid at the end of the day or end of the week, depending on teacher preference.


Hiring Crew Leaders

  • Different students can be selected each week to serve as the Crew Leader. The job of a Crew Leader is to check each and every job to ensure that it is performed correctly. In this manner, the working students will be paid appropriately. In fact, two different Crew Leaders can be selected so that they can share the job and check against each other.

Setting up a Bank for the Class

  • A trustworthy student can be designated as the Class Banker in order to serve the class. Here, the class money can be stored in a container or a box so that the students can easily save the money which is earned during the day. The banker will be in charge of paying other students in accordance to their work and ensure that this designation is rotated responsibly.

Using Class Money for Reward system

  • A stack of small denominations can be kept on the desk for rewarding students for their kind deeds or good behavior. The best way to develop social skills is to reward the positive behavior of students.


Issuing Brain Bucks

The student can print or write up some Brain Bucks on a piece of paper and assign values of worth. Then, the Brain Bucks are to be stored in a stack for easy access in the class room. When a student solves some problem or a puzzle in a creative way, the teacher can praise the student and reward the student by issuing a Brain Buck. An important note is that the teacher has to make sure that the student realizes how much these Brain Bucks are worth.

Spending Money Earned By Students

It is the most important part of classroom economy. As soon as the students earn their money, they will be interested to know how to spend the money. Some of the strategies are:

Offering Special Privileges

  • The teacher can help students to use their money to purchase special privileges. For instance, they can spend their money to purchase extra time on the computers.

Setting Up of a Classroom Treasure Chest

  • Some common activities include collecting items from free deals, buying items using book club points or asking for donations. Many parents will be willing to donate their money or items to help stock the classroom treasure chest. The teacher can make an appropriate time-table to show when students can visit the chest. Items can be labeled with different prices and visiting charges can also be introduced.

Establishing a Class Store

  • The teacher can create a class store in which items can be stored. Furthermore, the students can help to organize the store, make the price tags and determine the prices. Some students can also play the role of store-keepers while others can shop. There should be a schedule for the visiting hours of the store.

Holding Class Auctions

  • The teacher can appoint a student to be the auctioneer on the day of auction while others bid on the items. As always, the item is sold to the highest bidder. The class can source for donations from former students who may enjoy participating in the auctions. Local businesses and parents can also be approached for donations or the students can contribute their items for auctions.

All in all, the classroom economy offers useful tools which are used in economic transactions in real life. For instance, students will learn about debits and credits, budgeting of their finances, and getting an in-depth understanding of demand and supply. Eventually, classroom economy will enable the teacher to inculcate the basic principles of economic decisions and provide a firm foundation for students to succeed financially in their later life.

Here are some resources on classroom economies: