Show Me NO Money

6, 7, 8

In this lesson, students respond to the South Asian Indian folktale "The Drum" and explore the concept of capital as it applies to traditional economic systems and trade economies. Students contrast trade without money (bartering goods and services) to giving and volunteering. Students work in groups to create public service announcements that promote the use of non-monetary capital to address community and world problems.

PrintSix 45-Minute Class Periods, Plus Time to Share PSAs

The learner will:

  • define the capitalist economy.
  • explain the concept of barter system.
  • compare and contrast bartering and sharing.
  • brainstorm the types of capital and expand on the concept in creative ways.
  • with a small group, create a public service announcement that encourages people to use their creative capital to address a community or world issue.
  • present the completed PSA to an appropriate audience.
Home Connection 

Lesson Five includes a family night. Students show their PSA and other projects for that night of demonstration and celebration.


EconEdLink. "I have no money will you take Wampum?" Dec. 1999. Council for Econmic Education.

Folktales from India. "The Drum"  /resources/drum

The Girl Effect. "powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate in their society."

Jerry Maguire movie clip "Show me the money" on

Jerry Maguire. Sony Pictures, 1997. ASIN: 0800141741

Rubistar. "Rubric for PSA brochure"

"The Wampum Bird"


  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set: Show the movie clip from "Jerry Maquire" of when Jerry Mcguire (Tom Cruise) and Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) are yelling over the phone, "Show me the money" about contract negotiation. Then tell the students the theme of this lesson is"Show me NO money."

    Alternative Anticipatory Set: Hold a realistic copy of a dollar bill up in front of the students and ask them "What gives this piece of paper value?" as you tear it into pieces and let the pieces fall. Let the students respond to the question and react. Then tell the students that the theme of this lesson is "Show me NO money."

  2. Remind the students that we have a capitalistic economy based on money. Ask them to define capital. Teacher Note: Define capital as "wealth in the form of money or property or resources owned by a person or business." Money is just one form of capital.

  3. Show the students Handout One: From Worthless to Priceless. Remind the students that in the last lesson, they read a folktale about a boy who used no money. Ask the students what the boy used for capital at the end of the story. Tell them that before we started using money, there were other economic systems based on trading (such as beads or shells). Ask if anyone knows what type of economy this is an example of (bartering system).

  4. Ask the students to think of several examples of services they have performed or goods shared for which they did not expect money in return. Then have them share a couple examples with a partner. Walk around and listen to their ideas. Tell the students you heard two different examples and ask them the difference. (Share an example of someone giving or serving as an act of kindness vs. an example of someone doing something in exchange for a good or service.) Students should recognize that bartering and giving and serving for the common good are not the same. Ask the students whether the boy in "The Drum" was bartering or volunteering. Discuss their different interpretations of the boy's motives and expectations.

  5. Write the following categories on the board: Services for Services, Goods for Services, Goods for Goods, and Volunteer. Ask the students to brainstorm examples of trades they have made, observed, or read about (in history) that did not involve money. This may include services for services (an accountant does financial work for a landscaper who pays by doing yard work at the accountant's house); services for goods (you clean your brother's room so he gives you a valuable baseball card); or goods for goods (in the lunch room you trade your cookies for a brownie with sprinkles). As they brainstorm examples, have them identify under which category it fits. Not everything will be clear and may require some discussion.

  6. Tell the students that capital may include anything we have of value, as evidenced in the list they brainstormed.These things we trade may be examples of different types of capital. We may have skills, goods, social capital (good feelings built up with others), wisdom capital, compassion capital, time capital, monetary capital, and others. Have the students work in groups to identify the types of capital used in the brainstormed list. They may come up with creative names for other types of capital. Challenge the students to name the type of capital the boy in "The Drum" had (and the types of capital the other characters used). Each group assigns one member of their group to write down the types of capital they identified (and examples). After five to ten minutes, have the groups share their ideas with the whole class.

  7. For homework, the students think about assets and things of value in terms of types of capital. Tell them to reflect on their own capital: what do they have of value that can be traded or given away (e.g., social capital, monetary capital, and capital that comes from their possessions or talents). They should come to the next class ready to communicate about the capital they have.

  8. Day Two

    Anticipatory Set: Show the students "The Girl Effect." This online public service announcement (PSA) is available at Ask the students to identify the type of capital the PSA encourages them to give and the type of capital their gift will generate. Remind the students of the handout you showed them in the previous lesson (Handout One: From Worthless to Priceless) and have the students draw a similar model of images and arrows from the ideas in the video.

  9. Remind the students of their homework to think of types of capital they have. Tell the students they are going to make their own PSAs to encourage people to use their capital to help others. Ask the students to brainstorm or provide a list of issues they may address: hunger, poverty, loneliness, illiteracy, unclean living environment, unsafe environment, opportunities for people with disabilities, animal safety, etc.

  10. Put the class into groups of three to five students according to the issues that interest them. Assign each group an issue. Have them start planning a PSA that illustrates how people can use capital other than money to address the assigned issue. The group members make plans for what they want to create and how to share responsibilities for creating the PSA. (The PSA may be in the form of presentation software, poster, movie, cartoon strip, or podcast.)

  11. Five minutes before the end of class, meet as a whole group to discuss progress of planning and answer questions. Make sure all the groups understand the assignment. The groups may meet outside of class time to work on their PSA or this may take several class periods to complete.

  12. Days Three to Six

  13. Give the groups time to work on their PSA assignments.

  14. When the PSAs are complete, have the student groups show them to each other.

  15. Discuss other potential audiences for their PSAs and make plans to share their work outside the classroom. Ask the students what they expect to be the effect of sharing their work with the chosen audiences.

  16. Help the students make connections in the community to show their work.


Teacher observes student participation in class activities. The final PSA serves as an authentic assessment of student work and comprehension. Optional: The tic-tac-toe board is evaluated by a student completing three in a row. Diagonally, Vertically or Horizontally. The teacher determines if the projects meet the expectations for completeness and quality.

Cross Curriculum 

Students may show their PSA to an appropriate audience to advocate for their cause.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define the phrase <i>community/social capital</i> and discuss how it relates to all communities.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.7 Give examples of common resources in the community.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define and give examples of the motivations for giving and serving.
      2. Benchmark MS.8 Identify and describe examples of community/social capital.
      3. Benchmark MS.9 Identify pro-social behavior in different cultures and traditions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.