The Concept and Value of Money Lesson Plan

The Concept of Money and Value of Coins and Bills

Created by Meghan Montgomery March 2017


Applies to: Life Skills, Critical Thinking, Understanding and Participating in Community & Society, Self-Awareness

Purpose: To develop, refresh, or strengthen a conceptual foundation of what money can ‘be and do’ as well as accurately identifying coins and bills (as well as outliers)


  • Ask members to practice visualizing money broken down into the 12 Visualizing Verbalizing structure word categories
  • Discuss (1) what money is, (2) what money does, and (3) what money is used for
  • Identify coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter) as well as bills (1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100)
  • Practice identifying coins/dollars and writing their correlating quantity
  • Identifying lessor known or outlier $ (50 cent coins, $1 coins, $2 bill)

Materials needed:

  • Worksheets (attached)
  • Pencils
  • Play money that looks realistic (coins and bills)

Activity Steps 

  1. Discuss the topic of money—posing the initial questions—What is money? What does money do? What is money used for?—as an initial conversation opener. Encourage affect rich ideas—“What do you really LOVE to spend money on?!”
  2. Identify coins and dollars, labeling and filling in worksheets accordingly, followed by matching the play money to the worksheet coin and dollar grids. Emphasize that this is USD or currency.
  3. Lightly touch upon the notion of “outlier” coins and dollars—the ones that are lesser known, but still used and still worth their correlating value. For instance, in Boston, MA, if someone puts a $20 bill in the MBTA machine to re-up their Subway/T pass, the machine spits out $1 coins instead of $1 bills. Deepening individuals awareness of how money can vary, but hold its value, will plant necessary seeds for potential curveballs.

Carrying the Concept Forward

If there is interest, there can also be a discussion about international currency. 

Topics can include:

  • Comparing the different shapes, sizes, and colors of a country’s money to your own country’s money
  • Different values of money in different countries (i.e. $10 USD = ¥1000 Japanese Yen)
  • Different kinds of bills and coins with values different from own country’s money (i.e. $1 USD bill vs. ¥100 Japanese Yen coin)
  • Different terminology used in other countries (i.e. USD uses dollars and cents, British Pound uses pounds and pence)


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