Lesson Plan

Money Money Money

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Fifth Grade
Colonial History, Economics, History, Mathematics, Military and Wartime History, Revolutionary War, Social Studies
20-25 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
National/State Standards:
NYS Content:
Gr. 4: Colonial/Rev Per.; Rev War in NYS
Gr. 5: US Hist
Gr. 7: Un. 2, Sec. 2, Con. A; Un. 3, Sec. 1 A,B; Sec. 4 A,C; Sec. 5 A
NYSED Standards:
US Standards:
Gr. 4: 2 A,B; 3 B; 4 A,E
Gr. 5,7: Era 2 St. 3B; Era 3 St. 1A,C; 2A,B; St. 3A
Battle of Saratoga, Battles of Saratoga, Saratoga Battlefield, Revolutionary War, American Revolution, military history, history, social studies, geography, mathematics, Economics


The monetary system in America at the time of the Revolutionary War was somewhat rocky.  Many colonies, and eventually states, printed their own paper money, and one colony might not accept the money of another.  A stable system of currency was needed, preferably one based in silver or gold.  The British system was the default one used, and while stable, it is a little confusing for modern understanding.


Students will be able to:

  1. describe the basic monetary system in use in American leading up to, and to a degree during, the Revolutionary War
  2. solve simple math problems using this system


 Money in early America was complicated.  As British colonies, we used British currency, both paper and coins.  Yet the colonies also printed their own paper money, with some colonies not necessarily accepting money from other colonies.  Using a unified standard, the British system, made economic sense.  

With the American Revolution, the new states continued their practice of printing their own money, and as before, there was a certain lack of equity between them.  British money was still being used; states often printed their currency with British monetary equivalent amounts right on the bills.  

Soon, the US had to create its own money, which it did: the Continental dollar.  But that quickly became a huge issue, as printing more and more led to inflation.  Some Spanish money was used by people to get around that issue, and of course people fell back on using the tried-and-true British system.


Downloadable PDF lesson materials:



 Downloadable PDF available.answer key

Park Connections

This activity is only indirectly related to the park, but it describes the system of money used by the British army here, and originally by the American forces.  

Word problems draw a connection to these soldiers.

Additional Resources

Downloadable PDF document:
Student Research Packet


CURRENCY --system of money
Additional terms defined within the activity:

Last updated: February 26, 2015