Back in November, students participated in a real world activity involving applying for a job, earning a salary, cashing a check from the bank, and spending money using exact change or making change at the market.
To begin the activity, students had to apply for jobs. Jobs included teacher assistants, store clerks, store manager, bank tellers, bank manager, and a police officer to monitor the halls. Teacher assistants assisted various teachers complete a specific task. Once the task was complete, students received an envelope with their checks inside. They could then cash their checks at the bank. The bank tellers and bank manager were to collect the checks and distribute the correct amount of money. Finally, students would be able to use their money at the market. At the store, students had two options: use exact change to pay for an item or pay with more to get change. The store clerks and store manager were responsible for making sure all sale transactions were accurate and issuing correct change to customers.
Students had such a great time doing this activity, they frequently ask when we will do it again. Because of this, I plan on having a week-long class economy activity similar to this later in the year. It will not only involve concepts in math, but also social studies concepts, such as basic economics involving needs vs. wants and saving vs. spending.