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Lesson Plans
Cyber Currency, Currently
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

This mini-unit (set of lessons) uses games, easy explanations, and the "Trading Places" episode of the popular animated series CYBERCHASE to teach kids about financial literacy. Kids learn the value of currency and how to save and earn interest. In a key lesson, kids even get to purchase items in their classroom's general store. It's a fun way to learn the importance of being financially literate!

Grade Level:
Upper Elementary (grades 4-6)

Time Allotment:
Three to five 45-minute class periods
NOTE: This lesson may be condensed or expanded, depending on the amount of time you have available and your level of involvement in the topics explored.

Subject Matter:
Currency systems
Bartering and trading
Financial literacy
Saving and simple interest

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Recognize the need to create a system of currency due to the limitations of the barter system.
  • Understand the important characteristics of an effective system of currency.
  • Use visual models to represent currency and understand its relationship to real currency (money).
  • Understand that currency can be saved for use later and may earn interest in a financial institution.


McREL Economic Standard 4: Understands basic features of market structures and exchanges. (Level II) 15&StandardID=4

2.Understands that money reduces the problems barter faces because money is easy to divide, carry, and store.
5.Understands that money makes it easier to compare the value of different kinds of goods and services and allows people to save purchasing power for a later time because it can easily be traded for goods and services at any time.

McREL Economic Standard 7: Understands savings, investment, and interest rates. (Level II) 15&StandardID=7

1. Understands that savings is the part of income not spent on taxes or consumption

McREL Mathematics Standard 2: Understands and applies basic and advanced properties of the concepts of numbers. (Level II) 1& StandardID=2

2. Understands equivalent forms of basic percents, fractions, and decimals and when one form of a number might be more useful than another
5. Understands the relative magnitude and relationships among whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and mixed numbers

NCTM Standards, Grades 3-5
In grades 3-5 all students should-

  • recognize equivalent representations for the same number and generate them by decomposing and composing numbers;
  • solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts;
  • create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas;
  • select, apply, and translate among mathematical representations to solve problems;
  • use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena.

This lesson was prepared by: Patrick Vennebush

Content Reviewers:
Carey Bolster, Co-Director Math Content, Cyberchase; Frances Nankin, Math Content Producer, Cyberchase