A North Carolina teacher has created a simulated economy for her third-grade students.
The children earn fake money for classroom jobs and pay rent for their desks and chairs.
The classes, which aim to teach financial responsibility, have gone viral on TikTok.
Shelby Lattimore, who has turned her classroom into a simulated economy, charges her students "rent" for their desks and chairs and allows them to buy classroom perks, including homework passes, as part of lessons in financial responsibilities.
Lattimore's videos, which document these classes, have more than 27 million likes on TikTok.
In her third-grade classroom in Charlotte, students earn fake money for performing various jobs, such as holding doors open, cleaning up, and assisting the teacher.
The jobs, which don't all have the same salary, result in a Friday "payday," when the students can use some of their earnings to purchase rewards, such as lunch with their teacher, free time, or even homework passes.
The ultimate reward — being a teacher for a day — costs $30 in the imaginary currency.
In the videos, Lattimore reminds the kids to always keep $5 to cover the "rent" for their chairs and desks.
In theory, those who don't save enough risk being seated on the floor, although Lattimore appears in the videos to remind the students not to dip below their saving targets.
To mimic real-world scenarios, students can incur fines for late payments or other missed deadlines.
There is a fine of $1 for late homework.
The lessons come with other miniature financial lessons, such as always counting the change you get back and never handing over a whole wallet to the cashier.
In one TikTok video, Lattimore says: "A lot of my kids come from families that live check to check and are not in the best financial situation, so I don't think they're too young to ever learn how to handle money, how to use money, and how they want to use their money."
In a 2021 survey by Greenlight, a debit-card company for kids and parents, 74% of teens said they didn't feel confident in their personal-finance knowledge, and a similar percentage — 73% — said they wanted to learn more.
Lattimore told NBC News the lessons gave students practical life skills for the real world and taught them to appreciate what their guardians were going through, but in "a safer environment."
One parent, Brittany Sales, told NBC her daughter Marlii had gained valuable insights into money management through Lattimore's lessons.
"She just thought it grew on trees and she could spend it," Sales told the news outlet. "We literally learned so much from how she taught it."
The approach also appears to have benefited Lattimore herself, who has more than 870,000 followers on TikTok.
She told NBC News she had earned six figures from monetizing her TikTok content and collaborating with brands.
"My teacher salary is not even half of that," Lattimore told the news outlet.
Read the original article on Business Insider