On The Money


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In this lesson, you will explore what money is and how it differs around the world. You will compare U.S. currency with play money and with money around the world, and then design your own money.


  1. Visit the website Coin Pictures from Around the World and look at various pictures of coins from around the Coinworld.What are you looking at? How do you know it is money? Is it real money? Name a coin that we use today in our country.
  2. Take a nickel, dime, penny, or quarter and compare your coin with a coin on the website. How are they alike? How are they different?As a class, create a VENN DIAGRAM showing the similarities and differences.
  3. How do we know something is money? Is all money round? Is all money silver?
  4. Visit the website Toy Money of American Children and students compare your coin with a coin found on this website. How are they alike? How are they different? Create a VENN DIAGRAM. Are the coins on the website money? Why or why not?
  5. If you have some Monopoly or other play money, would you sell your their lunch for it? Why not? The coins on the website they just saw are play money, not real money.
  6. What makes the play money different from the real money you saw at the first website or the money you are holding in your hands? Brainstorm some ideas. The difference is that real money is widely accepted as money. Everyone Moneyagrees to use it as money. Play money is not widely accepted as money, and most people wouldn't sell you something in exchange for it.
  7. Visit the Geographical Directory Of World Paper Money , then click on the country whose currency
    you wish to see. Different countries print different currency. To buy something in a country, you need too have that country's currency. Explore the currency from at least three countries. Compare one example to an American ten dollar bill as seen at the web site U.S. Treasury Small Denominations . How is it different from American money? What do you like about it?
  8. Take a closer look at the American five dollar bill. Examine the different parts such as the portrait, signatures, legal tender wording, value, and decorations. Visit the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing  and click on the link Interactive Note.
  9. Create your own currency using paper and art supplies or a draw program on the computer. Try to include some of the features you saw on the American ten dollar bill and on the currency you viewed from other countries. How will you make sure that no one can easily copy your currency?


Do you think you could use money you designed to buy things in a grocery store? What kinds of problems do you think you will encounter in doing so? It would not be a good idea to try and buy something using fake money because you could get into a lot of trouble. Out of all the money pictures you saw, which one was your favorite? Where have you seen play money? Have you ever played Monopoly and pretended that the money was real? Could you buy a toy in France with American Dollars? Why not?