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Austin elementary school opens 'Minitropolis' to teach kids how to manage money

The kids earn money by doing good things in class and turning in their homework.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some Austin elementary students are getting prepared for the real world in a new way through a cool project.

The project is called "Minitropolis," which is basically a miniature city with its own economy.

Students at the Blackshear Fine Arts Academy had their grand opening of Minitropolis for this school year in their gym.

How it works:

Think of Minitropolis as a mini economy in the school. The students run a pretend bank and their own H-E-B store all by themselves.

Kids will earn money, or in this case, "yellowjacket bucks," through classroom activities and by working at a mini store they have set up. There are several ways for the students to earn money throughout the year. 

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The students can then deposit the money into their own bank account at the school or make withdrawals so they can use the money they earn to buy food or toys at the store.

Valerie Johnson, who is a branch administrator IFC Bank, said this teaches kids how to handle their own finances in a smart manner.

"It helps students learn about saving and how to use their money wisely, but it is also a program that creates a conversation in the community about money," Johnson told KVUE. "It's important to introduce kids to this so they can be smart about their money, be smart about credit and it gives them tools to make better decisions in the future."

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Johnson said the kids get very excited to use their money, adding they get even more excited about H-E-B and its snacks more than anything else.

Raya Selby, who is a third-grader at the school, said she enjoys getting rewarded for doing great things in class. 

"I'm going to listen to my teacher, focus, and not talk when I'm not supposed to," Selby said.

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