Money – coins and banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money.

  • metal coins – normally round pieces of metal that are used as currency, or money. Coins have been made for about 2600 years
  • Paper money, 11th century – The abstraction at the core of the modern economy,

banknote (often known as a bill, paper money or simply a note) – a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender.

  • printing
  • stamping
  • design
  • regulation

Handling money

  • coin sorting machine
  • counting machines
  • storage and transportation – vaults, armored trucks
  • retail – mechanical cash register, Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal

Counterfeiting paper notes is easier than forging coins, especially true given the proliferation of color photocopiers and computer image scanners. Numerous banks and nations have incorporated many types of countermeasures in order to keep the money secure.

A one US-Dollar bill featuring George Washington

What’s the problem?
How Money is Made (video 4:38) – see how money is made in the United States on this field trip to the Money Factory – Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Washington DC. Interviews: Brian Thompson, Banknote Designer and Dixie March, Script Engraver

That’s engineering

  • metal – group of elements in the periodic table called metals. Most metals are solid at room temperature. These elements usually have the following properties: can conduct electricity and heat; can be formed easily; have a shiny appearance.
  • malleability – a physical property of matter, usually metals. It is the ability of a solid to bend or be hammered into other shapes without breaking. Examples of malleable metals are gold, iron, aluminum, copper, and lead.
  • periodic table of the chemical elements is a list of known atoms. In the table, the elements are placed in the order of their atomic numbers starting with the lowest number. The atomic number of an element is the same as the number of electrons or protons in that particular atom. In the periodic table the elements are arranged into periods and groups.

Engineering ideas

  • metallurgy, random, malleable, bend, break, Periodic Table, chemical elements, atomic number

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • A coin might be used to decide things randomly. This is called “tossing a coin”. A person can throw the coin into the air and catch it. You then look at which side is facing up. If the head is facing up it is called “heads”, if the other side is facing up it is called “tails”. Before tossing the coin someone has to decide what each side means. Make 10 throws and record the results. Make 100 throws and record the results. Is this a good representation of random results? What can change the “odds”?

Learn more…