Dozens of children and adults clambered over tables in Liberty Elementary School’s cafeteria last week after participating in the school’s annual Mini Economy Day where squishy stress balls, glove buddies, key chains and other products developed and sold by nearly 100 students littered the floor.
But the products were just the most visible part of the mini-economies that students developed in their classrooms over the past months, and while some items may be left behind, their teachers and principals hope the skills and knowledge the students learned will persist.
The mini-economy is a form of economics instruction in which students participate in a classroom economy in order to simulate real world economic activity. In a mini-economy, students earn play money in a variety of ways and spend it at a class market operated by their classmates.
The mini-economy program teaches students about entrepreneurship, economics, and government through establishing a unique classroom currency, performing classroom jobs and starting their own classroom business.
Students determine needed resources and purchase them, calculate expenses and profits, apply for classroom business licenses and even convert between currencies when they come to Market Day, which has its own currency and exchange rate to the classroom money.