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Making Money

Research images and designs on paper money then print your own personalized paper money.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. "Money makes the world go round." Ask students to discuss what they think this well-known saying means. Have students to look at photographs of paper money and identify images and designs on both the front and back of money. Organize students into small groups in order to research the images and designs. Find out what they mean, who the people are that are on various denominations, and why they are recognized in this way.
    2. Provide opportunities for student groups to share their research findings with classmates. Then ask each group to design a new denomination of paper money. Who will they choose to put on the bill? Why? What symbols will they memorialize on their bill? Have students use Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils to create a draft of their unique bill.
    3. In preparation for creating a printing plate for the original bill, students cut off the edges of a foam produce tray with Crayola® Scissors. Cut a piece of white paper the same size as the printing plate. (This design will be used for printing, so the letters need to be in reverse. Draw with a Crayola black marker so you can see through the other side.)
    4. Turn the paper over and trace the drawing with a colored pencil onto the produce tray. Remove the drawing and use the colored pencil to deepen and widen (or etch) lines in the foam plate.
    5. Students cover work surfaces with recycled newspaper. Empty a small amount of Crayola Washable Finger Paint onto a paper plate. Roll a sponge brayer (foam roller) through the paint to get a thin, even layer.
    6. Roll the finger paint onto the etched printing plate to cover it with a light paint layer. Keep the paint out of the etched lines.
    7. Press a piece of white paper onto the paint-covered printing plate, rub the back with hands, and lift the paper to reveal the print. Repeat as needed, with different colors or designs, after the paint dries.
    8. Use a damp paper towel to clean the plate when done. Trim the bills to the size of money when dry.
    9. Students share their original bills with classmates in small groups settings. Students explain the symbols they placed on their original bills and the team's reasoning behind their choices.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.

    MATH: Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Students investigate the monetary system in their home country. What types of coins and paper money exist? What types were used in the past and are not longer in use? Why? Create examples of the look of each of these examples.

    Students identify the famous people that adorn their coin and paper money. Why were these people chosen? What were their contributions to the country? Students create examples of the look of each of their selected pieces and include a summary history of the money.

    Investigate money used in other countries. How does it compare to money in your home country? What famous people are used on the coins and/or paper money? Why were these people selected?

    If you were creating your own society, would you include a monetary system? If so, what would your coins and paper money look like? Who would you include on your money pieces and why? Design examples of each of your coins and paper money. Be prepared to explain what you have chosen and why.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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