Money Supply

Teaching Money Supply through Star Wars and a Think-Pair-Share:

Goals for students in Kindergarten and Older

  • Have students understand what makes something money. 
  • Have students understand why stores won’t take money from other countries.
  • Have students understand what bartering is and how it is used as a substitute when money is not available.

Additional goals for grades 9-College

  • Examine how countries with hyperinflation have had to revert to bartering systems when currencies become worthless.
  • Discuss how the liquidity of an asset influences how it’s categorized in the money supply.

Time Required: The entire lesson should take 15-20 minutes if you only address cases where bartering is used today, and 25-30 minutes if you include the more advanced lessons on international currency and hyperinflation. 

Materials Required: None


An understanding of Money Supply allows students to understand several economic concepts, such as what makes a good type of money, different types of money (and why some money is more valuable than others), bartering, hyperinflation, and liquidity. 

  • What is/what makes money
  • Different types of money
  • Bartering economy and reasons for it
  • Hyperinflation and reasons for it
  • Liquidity

Plan for the Classroom:

First, watch the clip “Qui-Gon’s Republic Credits Are No Good” from The Phantom Menace. Then conduct a Think-Pair-Share with students where you ask students to:

  • On their own, write down why Republic Credits, which are considered money across the galaxy, aren’t acceptable for Watto. 
  • Pair up with another student and share answers.  
  • Ask the class for some good examples that their partners provided 
  • Then ask if money isn’t acceptable anywhere, how could Qui-Gon get the part he needs?  (Discussion should lead to bartering.)
  • Show the clip “Han Walks Through Barter Economy.”


Now that the students have done a think-pair-share and have seen both videos, they should be in a good position to think through bartering situations. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • Where does bartering happen today?
    • trading cards, lunchroom, etc.
  • Why doesn’t the local grocery store in the USA take Canadian money? (If not in the US, replace it with a home country and a neighboring country.)

For more advanced students, these clips could lead into a discussion that hyperinflation – which makes currencies worthless – leads to bartering and how this has happened throughout history.  (Germany between the World Wars, Zimbabwe and Venezuela now).  

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