Funny Money or Phony Money?


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Money is what we use to show what goods or services are worth in terms of other goods and services. When you do work, you are paid with money when you buy something you give the seller moneyintro.

When you sell something, the buyer gives you money. Sometimes it’s a lot of money and sometimes it’s just a little money. The amount of money you are given depends on the worth of what you are selling. People use the money they earn to exchange for goods and services. People want money because they can use it as a medium of exchange and store of value. Only one place in America legally makes money; that place is called the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).


In a large group discussion, answer the following questions:


  • Have you ever bought something?
  • If so, what was it?
  • How much did it cost?
  • Where did the money for this purchase come from?
  • Did you have to do any work to earn that money?
  • Did you have to save your money to pay for the item you bought?
  • What would happen if people thought your money didn't have any value?
  • If you spent $3.00 on a new book, and had to walk your dog 10 times to save that much money, how would it feel if some other people did not have to do any work for their money and just made it themselves?

Activity 1:

five booksPretend that these books are the only books for sale, and that you have five one-dollar bills to pay for the books.

How much would each book cost?

Now you have five more one-dollar bills on the table, for a total of 10 dollars. How much would each book cost now?

money 2Where there is more money “circulating,” prices go up. If a whole bunch of people were spending pretend money, would that make your book cost more or less? Why?

Activity 2:

Work individually or in pairs on the Interactive Phony Bologna activity. In this activity, you will look at money and try to determine if it is real or “phony bologna.” You will look at images of currency, both real and fake, and click and drag images to the appropriate wallet. When you are done, you will be able to print out a list of the choices you made.


Discuss the following questions:

  • What would happen if everyone used counterfeit money?

  • If everyone could buy whatever they wanted whenever they wanted, what would happen to prices?