Activity 3: About Australian banknotes

This activity familiarises students with Australian banknote features including security features. Look at and discuss the Australian banknote features using the interactive Australian banknotes perhaps just one or two at a time.

Consider why we have plastic banknotes (strength, security, environmental issues).

Discuss banknote security features

Refer to the interactive Australian banknotes and create a list of security features. Consider the following questions:

  • Why do we make banknotes from plastic and why do they have security features?
  • What does counterfeit mean? Discuss words such as fake, pretend, copy etc.
  • Why is counterfeiting bad? Explain how using a counterfeit banknote is the same as stealing.
  • How do security features help make banknotes safe?

Play a game of Guess what I am

Choose one banknote, describe it and ask students to guess which banknote you are describing. You might start with harder clues and move to the easier ones. You might for example describe the $5 banknote as follows:

  • On one side I have a picture of Parliament House
  • On the other side I have a picture of the Queen
  • I have some eucalyptus leaves on one side
  • I am pink and purple
  • I have the numeral 5 in a corner

What banknote am I? Barrier games and quizzes

As students become more familiar with the banknotes they could play a barrier game. Students form pairs. One looks at a banknote and describes it and the other guesses what banknote is being described.

Students could work in small groups to make a ‘What banknote am I?’ quiz in Microsoft PowerPoint and share it with other class members. This could also be completed as a whole class collaboration using a data projector and the slides could be shown to another class. Students describe a banknote giving one clue on each slide and revealing the object through text and an image on the final slide. To organise their presentations students could follow this model for a $10 banknote:

Slide 1: What banknote am I?

Slide 2: First clue, I am made from a plastic material.

Slide 3: Second clue, I have horses running on one side.

Slide 4: Third clue, I have a woman from long ago on the other side.

Slide 5: Fourth clue, I am blue.

Slide 6: Reveal the $10 banknote using text and an image.

Students could complete the Australian banknote jigsaw puzzles at the relevant levels.