News

YEAR IN REVIEW: Middle school kids took on own economy

Teacher Nichole Van Sickle and a Maple Creek middle school student with a credit card machine students used in her classroom to purchase items as part of a classroom project that created real-life  economic situations for students. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Teacher Nichole Van Sickle and a Maple Creek middle school student with a credit card machine students used in her classroom to purchase items as part of a classroom project that created real-life economic situations for students.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

The story

Maple Creek middle school teacher Nichole Van Sickle decided to give her students a real-life lesson they would never forget. The Grade 6/7 French immersion teacher started a classroom economy that gave kids an opportunity to earn wages, sell services or products, pay rent or buy real estate and spend on credit.

They chose jobs — one was security officer — paid fines if they didn’t do their homework and bought candy, cupcakes and other goods with their “francs.”

Some became real estate tycoons by “renting” out their desks while others spent all their money and became homeless.

“When you give them real-life experiences in the classroom, they love it,” Van Sickle said.

The economy project caught on and soon other classrooms joined in, creating a true miniature capitalist society where prices rose and fell depending on the supply of goods, the stock market was risky, and real estate prices fluctuated.

In June, the students will roll dice to see if their property’s value has gone up or down and are expected to pay their mortgages with interest.

“It’s been fun but a big learning curve for the students,” the teacher said.

 

 

The latest

Shortly after The Tri-City News’ article was published, Nichole Van Sickle was invited to speak at an Alberta teachers’ conference.

She’ll be on maternity leave in 2014 but plans to come back to the classroom frequently to help her replacement continue with the economy project.

 

 

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