Many Forms of Money


Materials Needed: The teacher will need to show several examples of materials that were once used in place of money. Some examples include: beads, dog's teeth, salt, feathers, rings, stones, copper, wire, shells, needles, stamps, bones, and many other items.


1. Values Whip Strategy. Tell students to think of something that could be used as a means of trade--other than the type of money we use today. To make sure they understand, share a few examples. The examples you share can be some of the actual samples you have--such as beads, rings, bones, etc. Allow enough "wait time" for each student to think of something to share. Move around the classroom, having each student share an idea of something used as a means of trade. If a student cannot think of an example, they should be allowed the option to pass. Summarized by talking about the many items people can--and have used to trade.

2. Share with students the items you have collected as examples of materials used for trade. Explain to students that currency is not the only means by which we can buy and exchange things. However, as a means of conformity, we use coins and currency.

3. Guided discussion. Explain to students the importance of exchange. Ask students how trade helps us, why it is necessary and what would happen without trade. Give examples. (eg., A dairy farmer has all the milk he needs, but he doesn't have any vegetables, grain, etc. Without vegetables and grain how could he feed his dairy cattle?) Have students think if they could live only on what their family produces or does. (eg., Even though the plumber may never have to worry about a clogged drain in his house, what would he do if his car needed repairs?)

4. On a lined piece of paper, have students explain why we need some form of trade and describe at least two things we can use as a form of trade or exchange.


Evaluation: Read students explanations to see if they understand why we need some form of trade and have given a few (at least 2) examples of items (other than coins and currency) used for trade.