Lesson Plan

Money, Money, Money!

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Math,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience.


Students will be able to describe the basic monetary system in use in American leading up to, and to a degree during, the Revolutionary War and 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.


  1. Print copies of Money Money Money worksheet for each student

  2. Cut manipulatives of the money (optional)


Reading and math problems for students

Download Money, Money, Money Worksheet

Teacher's instruction and answer key

Download Money Money Money Teacher Worksheet

Lesson Hook/Preview

Name all the types of money (coins and bills) that you can think of in our country: penny, nickel, dime, quarter, silver dollar, one dollar bill, five dollar bill, ten dollar bill, twenty dollar bill.


  1. Introduce the lesson by asking students what their favorite soft drink may be, and how much it costs.  Ask if they were to pay for one with a $5 bill here in New York, would it be accepted as payment; how about in New Jersey, Massachusetts, or even Georgia?  Of course it would.

  2. Now ask how they'd feel if they tried buying that soft drink in New Jersey or Pennsylvania but were told their $5 bill was not accepted.

  3. Explain that the system of currency in early America was similar to that: different colonies, and eventually states, printed their own money and didn't necessarily accept money from other colonies/states, or only did at a reduced rate of exchange.  Before the Revolution, and to a degree after, America used the British system of currency.

  4. Read over the lesson worksheet with the students, then do a few of the questions with them, so they understand the idea of computing the different amounts of money.


  1. Currency: system of money

  2. Pence: a plural of penny; used in referring to a sum of money rather than to the coins themselves (often used in combination)

  3. Shilling: a cupronickel coin and former monetary unit of the United Kingdom,the 20th part of a pound, equal to 12 pence: retained in circulation equal to 5 new pence after decimalization in 1971

  4. Crown: a former silver coin of the United Kingdom, equal to five shillings

  5. Pound Sterling: the official name for the standard monetary unit of the United Kingdom

  6. Guinea: a former money of account of the United Kingdom, equal to 21 shillings

Assessment Materials

Student Assessment: Currency

Explanation of Currency

Have student explain/define currency.  Have students explain or define how currency worked in this time period.  Have students write number sentences or equations for each problem they solve.

Supports for Struggling Learners

Have manipulatives, cut out versions of the money from the Money Money Money worksheet so that they can make relationships.

Enrichment Activities

Have excelling learners write number sentences and equations for all problems.

Additional Resources

The Battles of Saratoga, Student Research Packet 

Contact Information

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Last updated: May 21, 2015