Ms. Emilce's Website

Classroom Economy

Core objectives of Classroom Economy:

  • Take part in a simulation of real-world economic activity

  • Learn the value of earning a paycheck, as they bank the salaries from their jobs.

  • Learn how to budget their spending, balance a checking account, and make scheduled payments.

  • Discover the importance of saving money to obtain what they want.

  • Describe the purpose of paying taxes.

  • find out that every decision has an opportunity cost.

Every month students earn paychecks and bonus money can be earned weekly. They also pay fines, electricity bills and rent for their desks, and they purchase prizes at auctions -- All with classroom currency.

Connections to Core Standards


  • Attend to precision: Each student is required to maintain a bank log of his or her finances. The individual student's log and the Banker's log of client accounts must be kept in balance with their online account to ensure accuracy.

  • Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic: Students'bank accounts can grow from as little as $50 to as much as several thousand dollars. To keep an accurate log, they will need to perform multi-digit arithmetic.

  • Fluently add and subtract multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm: Students are required to complete bank transactions using the standard algorithm.


  • Interpret information present visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on web pages) and explain how the information contributes to the understanding of the text in which it appears: Students must read and interpret bank logs and bank slips and explain how these collateral items are used in the classroom economy.


  • Write an opinion piece on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information: Students are required to complete a job application naming three jobs they want and the reasons they think they should have those jobs. Essentially, the students must state their case of why they should be awarded a particular job.

Classroom Jobs

Banker: keep banking records for about 2 students. Accept money for deposits. Pay out money for withdrawals. Keep some cash ready to meet requests. Deposit remaining cash to the teacher. Requires a Recommendation.

Fine officer: Check the teacher's offense log for violations of class rules. Hand out fine tickets to students who break the rules. Keep a record of fines and payments. Deposit money from fines in the Fine Folder. Requires a Recommendation.

Auctioneer: Poll the class to determine appropriate auction items. Identify ways to obtain the items. Plan and facilitate fund-raising events to sponsor the auction. Manage the auction.

Electrician: Monitor electricity usage in the classroom. Determine the daily charge and report the monthly total. Creatively present ideas on how to conserve energy and reduce the monthly bill.

Recyclist: Monitor the recycling bins and trash cans for appropriate deposits. Move trash and recycling to the hall if it is full.

Attendance Monitor: Take daily attendance and record absences. Report absences to the teacher. Provide students with make-up materials when they return to class. Students must have a strong attendance record to be considered as a candidate.

Clerk: Hand out papers to students. Hand out materials such as worksheets and textbooks. Collect papers or homework from students when asked. Organize the class supply shelves and keep them neat.

Messenger: Deliver written or spoken messages to people through the building. Answer the class phone.


The obligation to pay bills is central to the classroom economy.

  • Students' salaries do not quite cover their monthly rent. Students will need to rely on weekly bonuses that they receive weekly based on the amount of class work complete each week.

  • Students who do not meet their rent payments do face the loss of the privilege of sitting at the classroom table. They will need to use a clipboard until their rent is paid. Students will also not be eligible to participate in that month's auction if rent is not paid on time or if there are any outstanding fines.

  • The electricity bill requires students to budget for additional expenses beyond rent.

The monthly rent is $1,000.

Students do have the opportunity to purchase their table seats for $3,000. Once they have paid for their place in full they will no longer be required to pay their monthly rent for the rest of the year!


Weekly Bonuses can be earned by completing assigned classroom work. They have the opportunity to earn up to $100 a week from work completed. If students turn in work late they do not receive money for that assignment.

Bonuses earned at the end of the month:

Earn 100% on a test or quiz- $50.

Get a compliment from another teacher- $200.

Join in an extracurricular activity- $100.


In the classroom economy, the role of fines is to help students understand costs and consequences -- it is not to punish the students. Students will come up with other rules that they feel appropriate along with the following rules and ticket fines:

  • Dishonesty- $500

  • Rudeness- $100

  • Messy desk or locker- $100

  • Missing work (in my class)- $50

  • Off-task behavior- $50

  • Tardiness- $50

*Although the Fine Officers write tickets for fines, I control the process through an offense log. As I correct a student, I will mention that I am adding the violation to the log. Then, when Ticket Day comes, the Fine Officers write tickets based on the entries in my log. In this way, I retain explicit authority over dealing with misbehavior.