Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10151

What would happen if you went to the ice cream store with a chicken and tried to pay for your cone with it? We have money so you don't have to carry livestock to pay bills. Learn all about money!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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See if you can find a $1 bill.

  • What can you buy with that $1?
  • Where do you think this bill traveled before you got it?
  • Where was it made?
  • What do you see on the $1 bill?

Observe the symbols, words, and numbers.

  • Why do you think the $1 bill is marked this way?

Money has been used in the United States since the settlers came over in the late 1600s, but it wasn’t until after the Civil War that the money we are accustomed to today began. Here is a History of American Currency timeline from, showing the history of money in the U.S. The chart expands as you scroll down.

  • Why do you think the concept of money was introduced?
  • Why can’t people just trade or barter for items they need?

Name some functions of money and write them down on a white board or chart paper.

Look more closely at the system of bartering. This Econ Vids for Kids: What is Money? video will help you understand it better:

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When you are finished with the video, play the Escape from the Barter Island game from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Then, answer these questions:

  • Was it easy to barter?
  • What are some problems with bartering?
  • What are some shortcomings of the bartering system?

Continue on to the Got It? section to find out more about why we have money.

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