Activity 4: Design a banknote

This activity provides students with opportunities to reflect on their learning and present it in a creative way.

Revisit banknote design features

Revisit the interactive Australian banknotes focusing on the banknote design and security features. Ask students questions such as:

  • What is the largest image on each banknote?
  • Where is the portrait placed? (Point out that the portrait is large and in the middle of the banknote)
  • What stands out most on the banknotes? How has the artist achieved this?
  • How does the portrait relate to other images on the banknote?
  • Why has the designer used a pattern in the background?
  • Why is the colour important?

Remind the students of some of the security features used in Australian banknotes:

  • tiny lettering (microprinting)
  • when you hold a banknote up to the light you can see the Australian Coat of Arms and a seven-pointed star inside a circle
  • serial numbers glow when they are put under a special light
  • there is a clear window with an image inside.

Students plan their banknote designs

Ask students to design a banknote that features the person from their community that they researched. Discuss with students what design and security features they would include on their own banknote. Ask them to include:

  • a numeral
  • a chosen colour
  • the name of the country
  • the student's noteworthy person
  • images that say something about the noteworthy person and what the person has done
  • patterns
  • security features.

Students design their banknotes

Talk with students about their design plans. You could use a data projector to project a scaffold and model the completion of a draft plan before students make their own plan.

Students could make their design using:

  • IWB software
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • simple drawing software
  • art materials and paper (if using art materials encourage students to make an enlarged version of their note).

Students reflect on their banknote design

Guide student reflection by asking the following questions:

  • Is the value of your banknote clear?
  • How effective is the colour you have chosen?
  • How can you tell what country the banknote is from?
  • What stands out on your banknote?
  • If your banknote has patterns, how does this improve your banknote?
  • What security features does your banknote have?

Give students time to make any changes to improve their banknotes.

Ask students to show their banknotes to other class members. You might also like to invite the noteworthy community members to visit the class to view the multimodal texts and the banknote designs.

We also encourage students to provide their banknote designs to the Reserve Bank for review. Designs can be sent via email ( or by post to:

Manager, External Relations
Note Issue Department
Reserve Bank of Australia
GPO Box 3947