Lesson 4: Getting value for money



  • Single class period


Homework Task: Money – what is it good for?

There are some very good reasons why, over time, people moved towards using money as a way of exchanging/trading goods and services. For example, coins and notes have a set amount or value and means prices can be used to describe the value of a good or service. This allows for the comparison of prices of similar goods/services so you can make choices and shop around for value. In this lesson, students will learn about the useful characteristics of systems of money and will consider what would happen if money systems did not have these characteristics.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Activity 1: Review of Lesson Three Homework Task

1.  Invite students to look at their completed Student Worksheet: Shop around.

2.  Write the heading ‘Goods’ and ‘Services’ on the white/blackboard.

3.  Invite students to identify which of the items at the top of their worksheet are goods and which are services. Record their responses under the appropriate heading on the white/blackboard.

4.  Work your way through the goods/services list and get feedback from students who picked each of the items using the following as a prompt for discussion:

  • Was there much difference between your guess about the cost of the good/service and the quotes you researched?
  • Was there much difference between the two quotes for the good/service you researched?  Why?
  • Did anyone pick the more expensive quote for a good/service?  Why?

Activity 2: Getting value for money

1.  Ask the class to call out the different words they use for money. Record their responses on the white/blackboard.

2.  Explain to the class that money can be called lots of different things but our money system has the following useful characteristics:

Money can be reliably stored, saved and retrieved  

This means that you can put your money into your purse or wallet, a bank or credit union account etc. and access it when you need it.

Money is predictably useful 

This means that if you go to the shops with €100, you can buy €100 worth of goods and/or services.  Imagine if you could only buy €90 worth of goods with your €100. That would mean your money was not ‘predictably useful’.

Money is a standard unit of account 

This means that coins and notes of the same amount are of equal value, a characteristic that allows you to compare the value of goods/services. Imagine if your €10 note was worth a different amount to another person’s €10 note. It would mean that the money we use could not be used as a standard unit.

3.  Divide students into pairs.

4.  Invite students to think back to their experience of shopping around for the best value/price (Lesson 3: Homework Task).

5.  Ask students to work together in pairs to come up with an example of what might happen if they were shopping around for the best value/price and their money did not have one or more of these three characteristics:

  • What would happen if you couldn’t store, save or get access to your money?
  • What would happen if you couldn’t guarantee that the money that you have would be worth the same from one day to the next?
  • What would happen if you had the same banknote as your friend but the two banknotes were worth different amounts?

6.  Take feedback from a selection of pairs, recording their responses on the white/blackboard.

7.  Conclude by explaining that these three features of money are very important in terms of how we buy and sell goods and services.

Homework Tasks

Distribute one copy of Lesson 4 Homework Task Student Worksheet: Money – what is it good for? to each student.

Invite students to complete the worksheet.

The steps for reviewing this homework task are given at the start of Lesson 5.


Lesson 4 Homework Task Student Worksheet: Money – what is it good for?

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