Real-Life Economy Lessons Make Learning Fun, Exciting and Interactive in Mrs. Mazon’s Class

Mrs. Mazon’s fourth grade class is preparing for the future! Based on an idea from Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, an economy is now established within the classroom.

At the end of the first quarter, all students were informed that there would be a new system of rent, pay checks and finances. New jobs were posted on the “job wall”, detailing the pay scale for each. For instance, the banker position is the highest paying job with $1,000 per month as the salary. Less-demanding jobs get paid less. For example, as librarian receives a $600 per month salary.

Each student was required to apply for the job he or she desired, writing a thorough paragraph detailing why he or she would be the best candidate for that particular job.

That’s not all though, as there was another catch. The three top-paying jobs required a letter of recommendation from another teacher to accompany the application. The students began to formulate application letters, while Mrs. Mazon explained the next part.

Each student would be required to apply for a classroom seat as well. Seats with better locations in the classroom would have higher rent than others. With a payment of triple the rent, one could purchase the seat as a “condominium” and not pay rent any longer.  With this addition, the students realized there was a required strategy when it came to applying for both a seat and a job.

Once the students had established jobs and seats, the real fun started.

Each student received a “Finances Folder” with a personal ledger as well as personal checks.  Four bankers were hired. Each banker became the “personal banker” for four to five students.

Each time a student receives or needs to write a check, he or she must meet with the banker and deposit or withdraw money.

Students may also earn extra money through various means such as reciting the Champion Pledge at morning flag or participating in an extra-curricular activity.

After rent is due each month, there is an auction. The class had their first auction this week. Students sat with their finance folders out as well as their auction number “paddles” to help them bid. Students bid on items ranging from pencils and key chains to a day at the teacher’s desk and 20-percent off rent.

The auction was full of energy and excitement as the students shouted out their bids and fought to win the items they wanted. Several students’ numbers were never risen, nor were their voices heard. These students had decided to save up their money for the coveted condominiums.

At the end of the day, students had already begun to strategize for the next auction.

Each week brings new and exciting events as the students in Mrs. Mazon’s room learn to budget, save and manage an account.

Way to go, and thank you for this wonderful article, Mrs. Mazon! What a fun and successful way to learn.