Printer Friendly Version

Money and Trade

Money Talks: Coins and bills as well as other objects used as currency can provide insight about their places of origin. Imagine you are an archaeologist living in the year 4008. You know little of the world we live in today. While working in North America you dig up a U.S. penny. What can this coin tell you about the country that once used it? Take a look at the images, writing, shape, and size of a penny. Write an essay explaining what this penny can tell you about our country and our times.  

In Mint Condition: Visit the United States Mint Web site H.I.P. (History In your Pocket) Pocket Change, designed for interactive student learning about the history of American coins. Take a virtual tour of the United States Mint or travel back in time to spend your pocket change.  

Making Money: Design your own currency in the form of a coin, bill, or other valuable object. Tell your classmates how the value of your currency would be determined and what it might be traded for.  

Coin Collection: Make your own collection of coins. Take a look at mint years to see when your money was made. How have your coins changed or stayed the same through the years? Take a look at the history of U.S. coins and currency at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History‚Äôs online exhibition Legendary Coins and Currency.  

See for Yourself: Take a closer look at penny banks at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. A rotating exhibition highlights selections of the Katherine Kierland Herberger penny bank collection and includes a video of unusual mechanical banks in action. On view in Gallery 110. Admission is free.  

Priceless Prose: Spend some time expanding your knowledge about currency. Take a look at these valuable books.

Bendick, Jeanne. How Much and How Many: The Story of Weights and Measures. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989.

Burns, Peggy. Stepping Through History: Money. New York: Thompson Learning, 1995.

Cribb, Joe and Laura Buller. Money (DK Eyewitness). DK Children, 2005.

Geography Department. Sold! The Origins of Money and Trade (Buried Worlds). Runestone Press, 1994.

Kummer, Patricia K. Currency (Inventions that Shaped the World). Franklin Watts, 2005.

Maestro, Betsy and Guilio Maestro. The Story of Money. HarperTrophy, 1995.

Standish, David. The Art of Money: The History and Design of Paper Currency from around the World. Chronicle Books, 2000.  

February 2008