Classroom Economy

Digital Citizen


Classroom Economy is a program that teachers can use for free to teach students financial responsibility. This is a classroom economic system where students “rent” their desks, learn the value of earning a paycheck, budget their spending, save money, spend money, make deposits, withdrawals, etc.  

This can be used for any grade level (Kindergarten-12th grade).  

Students will:

  • Be able to learn the value of earning money through a job well done.
  • Be able to learn how to budget their money, balance a checking account, deposit, and withdrawal.
  • Be able to learn delayed gratification - the importance of saving money for something you really want. 
  • Be able to learn about opportunity cost.

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Opportunity Cost: Opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain when one chooses one alternative over another.  

  2. Auction: An auction is a sale in which goods are sold to the highest bidder.

To prepare for this lesson:

  • Go to the Classroom Economy website and select your grade level.

  • Watch the overview video of what a classroom economy is. 

  • Once you are into your grade level, on the left side, click on “getting started”, “planning”, and “activities”. This will walk you through all of the steps for planning out your classroom economy.  

  • You can download and print everything you need to start in the overview

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. Show students the video on how the classroom economy works.

  2. The students will each be given their own folder to keep their information in.  

  3. The teacher will explain the different jobs they can choose from. Some examples are loan officers, police officers, bankers, etc. Send home an application with each child.  (Print these off the website under classroom materials).

  4. While students are working independently on something, the teacher will divide the kids into groups based on what job they were hired for. The teacher will explain in detail how those students will do their job and what their pay will be.

  5. Go over all of the pertinent information on this page with the students.

  6. Show video on fines and explain to students how they can get fined. 

  7. Show students the payday video clip.

  8. Show students the short video clip on rent

  9. Show students the short video clip on auction.

  10. Get students really excited about this fun, learning opportunity.  

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • They will check with the banker and make sure their checking account matches the bankers checking account for them. 
  • Students will begin to take more responsibility for their actions and learn so they do not keep getting fines.

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Digital Citizen
2c. Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.
2d. Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

App, Extension, or Add-on:

Classroom Economy 

Materials to print off

  • Students must read and understand banking logs, checks, and explain how those are used in the classroom economy.
  • Students are required to fill out a job application listing reasons why they think they should be hired for that particular job.
  • Students have to maintain their own banking log.  They are responsible to make sure their log matches the banker’s log.  
  • Students will need to use multi-digit addition and subtraction to figure to keep track of their purchases.

This introduces the student to supply and demand, along with opportunity cost.  Discuss how goods at an auction may be in high demand but supply might be low. 

This task card was created by Dawn Phillips, Wyoming Public Schools, August 2019.