Thursday, May 14, 2009

Money Fun

Money Fun was the fourth class. (No need to cover Class #3, as it was DEGO Day, a term coined by one my students meaning Domino + LEGO. A theme combining two past favorites and fairly self explanatory.) This one required an absorbent amount of prep time, as there was a tremendous quantity of information to wade through and my money knowledge was very sadly lacking. I had great difficulty selecting which facts to include, making sure it was at their level and not too tedious. In the end, I think it was a bit much for their attention spans. Still, the class went quite well. I tried to balance facts with visuals and activities.

We started with a brainstorm session of synonyms for money (refer to a thesaurus) followed by the history behind one term: “bucks.” Hint: It has to do with hunting and trading. I rolled quarters down the table and asked the kids to grab ‘em as they went by. Unfortunately, this proved too tempting for many students and they kept taking other’s quarters despite repeated warnings. I talked a little about the manufacture of U.S. coins, explained how their edges came to have ridges (this is quite interesting), and gave examples of things that can be done with them. We had a contest to see who could keep his coin spinning longest.

Next, I gave a short history on our paper money and showed printouts from the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. I talked about sheets of bills and shredded bills, past and present denominations, and shared a little money trivia. Things like the largest denomination ever (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in 1946 worth about twenty cents at the time), oldest known paper money (China, of course; 140 B.C.), and the World record for the largest bill.

Crisp new dollars, straight from the bank, were distributed. This is an age that really appreciates a buck, and I got quite a reaction when they found out they could keep them. I briefly touched on defacement and counterfeit laws, showed examples of money origami, and walked them through the steps of making a triangle from a dollar.

My husband is from Europe, which proved convenient for this class. His collection of foreign currency came in handy for show and tell! I gave each student a 2009 edition Disney dollar. We took a vacation there a few months ago, and I purchased extras for future use. By the way, for the Disney fanatics out there, this is a fun thing to collect. They change their designs each year in denominations of 1, 5, and 10.

This theme is worth doing again, though I might try and reduce the quantity of factual material.


Lisa said...

This is a cool game! The oragami part is neat...would be sooo cool for the Sunday School kids at our church. To some of the younger kids, yeah, your right, they'd get pretty excited over a dollar!