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Secrets of Making Money

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. Organize students into large groups, and give each group a newly designed $20 bill. Have students observe and list the characteristics of the redesigned U.S. currency. (See Some U.S. Currency Features for a list of some characteristics.) To see two of the new security features, have students hold a bill up to the light and look for a security thread embedded in the paper (running through the left side of the bill) and a watermark in the right side of the bill. To see another feature, give them a hand lens or jeweler's loupe to locate the microprinting around the portrait on the front of the bill. As they watch, have students look for features of U.S. and foreign currency that are intended to be difficult to counterfeit.

After Watching

  1. Changes to U.S. bills were made to enhance security, not to alter the notes aesthetically. Many countries, however, have highly decorative currency. Bring in or have students bring in currency from other countries to compare with the U.S. bills. Ask students what they think each design element symbolizes. What role do they think aesthetics should play in the design of a country's currency?

Teacher's Guide
Secrets of Making Money
PROGRAM OVERVIEW VIEWING IDEAS CLASSROOM ACTIVITY IDEAS FROM TEACHERS RELATED NOVA RESOURCES INTERACTIVE FOR STUDENTS