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Keene third graders are learning about economics

| January 15, 2013

Students explore opportunity cost by thinking about what they want to buy and what they will have to wait to purchase.

KEENE – The third graders at Keene Elementary have been learning about economics through their classroom economy. Each week, students in Mrs. Andrews and Mrs. McPeck’s classrooms have a classroom job that they must do. Some examples of the jobs are paper passer, equipment manager, SmartBoard calibrator, office messenger, library helper, to name a few. The students then voted how much money each job would earn based on the skill required to complete the job and the amount of time it would take to do the job each day. Due to this structure, there are some jobs students want more than others because they have the potential to earn more.

During the week, students can lose some of their earnings if they do not complete homework. Missing homework is a debit of $2 on their payday. If a student has problems following the rules, they are given a debit of $1 per occurrence on their payday. This system allows the students to have consequences for their actions. There are also incentives to earn more money. If a student goes a whole week without any checks, there may be a $5 bonus on their payday. On paydays, students get to use their third grade cash to go shopping at the class store. Students can purchase many different items ranging from pencils to notepads and other fun items.

They are also using classroom economy to teach economic concepts. So far, they have learned about debits and credits, incentives, and opportunity cost.  Mrs. McPeck sought funding for this project through Donors Choose. Donors Choose is a nonprofit organization that allows teachers to submit projects for funding. Once a teacher sets up an account and explains her project, anyone can contribute to the project until it is fully funded. Teachers are allowed to submit a certain number of projects each year and must submit reports as requested by Donors Choose. It has been a wonderful experience for our third grade classrooms. The students are learning about economics by real-life experiences.

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