Activity 1: Our Australian banknotes

This activity familiarises students with Australian banknote and their features.

Look at the interactive Australian banknotes and read the rollover information to students. You might want to look at these one or two at a time. Students might revisit the Australian banknote jigsaw puzzles at the relevant level of difficulty.

Ask questions about the design of the banknotes

Ask students questions about the design of the banknotes, such as:

  • What is the value of the banknote?
  • What are the main colours?
  • What is the largest image on each banknote?
  • What illustrations are on the banknotes?
  • Can you recognise any people and places?
  • What words are on the banknotes?
  • What patterns can you see?
  • Are there any other interesting features?

In the next activity students will find out more about the people on the banknotes. Point out the places featured on the $5, $50 and $100 banknotes. Discuss how the places are connected to the person on that banknote.

Ask students questions about hidden or special features

Ask students questions about the security features of the banknotes, such as:

  • Where can you find the tiny lettering (microprinting) on each banknote? (On the $10 banknote you can see some of the words from the poem The Man from Snowy River)
  • What can you see when you hold a banknote up to the light? (The Australian Coat of Arms and a seven-pointed star inside a circle)
  • What happens to the serial numbers when they're put under a special light? (They glow under UV light)
  • What image can you see in the clear window on each banknote? (gum flower, windmill, compass, southern cross, lyrebird)

Discuss the importance of these security features. You could show the class a video about Australian banknotes security features or an episode from the Channel 10 Scope series – ‘How things are made’ (Season 2: Episode 17), which is also available on Enhance TV and TenPlay .

Use a matrix for students to record banknote information

Organise your class into groups and allocate one banknote to each group to examine in detail.

Set up a digital matrix for students to present details of the banknote they have examined. Consider using:

  • map it (NOTEBOOK 162KB) – duplicating the Notebook page for each banknote image
  • Microsoft PowerPoint – one banknote per slide
  • collaborative software
  • a mind map
  • a worksheet provided to groups.

Students can contribute their information to the matrix and then share the information with other class members.

Complete the banknote activity sheet

Project and use an interactive whiteboard pen tool to complete the Banknote Activity Sheet (PDF 487KB) or print the sheet for individual student use.