Bill, Are You Bogus?
This lesson printed from:
Posted December 21, 1999
Grades: 3-5, 6-8
Author: Judy Shull-Hiebenthal
Posted: December 21, 1999
Updated: September 21, 2007
In a barter system, people have to trade goods and services for other goods and services. In an economy that produces millions of goods and services, barter is very difficult. Think of all the stuff (goods and services) you have.
- Explain why counterfeiting makes money a less effective medium of exchange.
- Examine the steps and materials used to produce currency.
- Identify how the Bureau of Engraving & Printing designs currency to deter counterfeiting.
- Design and use "Citizenship Cash" in the classroom to reward exemplary student behavior.
In a barter system, people have to trade goods and services for other goods and services. In an economy that produces millions of goods and services, barter is very difficult. Think of all the stuff (goods and services) you have. What if you and your parents had to trade other stuff to get your stuff? What if your mom and dad were paid in stuff rather than in money?
That is why we have money. Money makes it easier to produce and exchange goods and services. Because of money, the economy becomes more efficient and people can get more stuff. It is the stuff, not the money, that people really want. But without good money, we cannot get more stuff.
Therefore, money serves as a medium of exchange. All this means is that people exchange money for goods and services.
But people cannot exchange money for goods and services if they can not trust the money. If someone gives you counterfeit, bogus or fake money, for stuff, you are just stuck. They have the stuff, and you have nothing in return. You have nothing to trade for something else because that money is no good. That is why the government tries to make it difficult to counterfeit money. Let us see how they do this.
- Anatomy of a Bill: This section of the NOVA website provides information on the old 1996 version of the $100 bill. It also provides an interactive bill and describes all the parts of the bill.
- Anatomy of a Bill: Printed Elements: This NOVA site provides details of intaglio printing, color-shifting, the hidden messages of micro-printing, and the use of serial numbers on money.
- Bogus Bill: This NOVA site allows students to be a detective and investigate a bill to see if it is real or not.
Let us look closely at the 1996 redesigned $100 bill.
Visit the Anatomy of a Bill
Click on any part of the bill to become familiar with its artistic details.
The location "Anatomy of a Bill: the Printed Elements ," has more information and pictures of the actual printing process. Look for details of intaglio printing, color-shifting, the hidden messages of micro-printing, and the use of serial numbers.
(Younger students may need help with vocabulary here, but they will enjoy hearing the story and seeing the pictures.)
At the end of the printing page, click on "Anatomy of a Bill Paper." Here the pictures and text tell about the fibers of security thread and watermarks…all security measures.
1. Explain five things the government does to make it more difficult to counterfeit a $100 bill. [Answers will vary because there are more than five things.]
2. Why did the government make it more difficult to counterfeit a $100 bill? [The government did this to make money more acceptable as a medium of exchange.]
At the next site you can be a Bogus Bill detective and investigate a bill to see if it is real or not. How many errors can you spot?
We know "making money" is hard but did you realize how really complicated the actual process is? Share what you have learned with your family tonight.
1. Discuss creating Citizenship Cash for your classroom. Simple (or elaborate) money can be drawn and duplicated on colored paper. Use your school mascot, slogan, picture of the building, etc., on the "money." Perhaps the art instructor would assist if engraving materials and ink are available. Simpler designs could be created with the help of a copier or computer. Distribute the cash at appropriate times for respectful behavior, courtesy, kindness, helpfulness, etc. Students can recommend how the money could be "spent." Prizes, privileges, release from lessons, and free time in the library are some of the possibilities.
2. Create a crossword puzzle with well-written clues using this lesson's vocabulary words. Add words from other subjects or spelling lists as well.
3. No doubt you have heard of Pecos Bill, the tall-tale hero. Create a character called Bogus Bill who lives in Counterfeit Land, where things aren't quite real. Write illustrated stories to share in class and/or create a book of Bill's stories for the school library.