So this morning I had to break up a not-so-covert counterfeiting operation going on in my classroom. For the past few months, Noah's been really into making his own money. At first, I thought it was adorable and wanted to foster his creativity and resourcefulness.
However, he's become really insistent on using it in stores and at local restaurants. Again, adorable that he wants to buy me lunch - but it became apparent that I had to break it to him that it was . . . uhm . . . illegal, for starters.
We talked about how money is made, how it gets its value and why we can only use real money to pay for things. When he asked how you know the difference between real money and fake money (and when I say "asked", I mean asked at least 20 times and was not the least bit satisfied with my vague answer), I mentioned that Publix has a marker they use on large bills and suggested that we ask them about it next time we shopped.
But when I remembered that we had to stop at the bank to make a deposit, I decided that we'd get the info straight from the source. The representative at Bank of America was incredibly helpful and sat down with us for a good 20 minutes. She had the kids feel currency then feel regular paper to see the difference in the texture. She explained that the bills contain cotton fiber and have a much different feel to them than plain paper.
Incidentally, she had Ava handling a $1 bill and Noah feeling a $5 bill, so Ava got to chime in that George Washington was on her bill and Noah got to tell his Abe Lincoln joke!
Here are some other tidbits, many of which I didn't know:
- All bills are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington DC, and you can actually visit and see money being made. Have I mentioned we're visiting DC later this month? Perfect! Lots of great info and curriculum for download on that site as well.
- All coins are made in either Philadelphia or Denver. If you look by the date on new coins, you will see either a "P" or a "D" indicating where the coin was produced.
- Counterfeit markers will make a gold mark on real bills and a black mark on counterfeit bills. Also, real bills contain tiny bits of blue and red fibers, which can actually be picked off.
- Bills are printed in large sheets and cut to size. The images are made by engraving plates to press the ink onto the bills.
And the most surprising tidbit (for me, at least):
- You CANNOT take pictures in a bank (I'm sure you can guess how I found this out!) Makes sense, I suppose, but I never would have thought of it.
Days like today make me love homeschooling even more (of course, the fact that we were on our way back from the mall where we'd gotten free truffles at Godiva didn't hurt either!)