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Money Handling workshop at the British Museum

On Activities Day a group of students went to the British Museum to take part in various activities around the topic of money.
We started off with a trading activity, where each of us were given a bag filled with various items as well as money and we had a limited time to trade for items that are more valuable to us. Twelve people and almost as many game plans: Some traded in the things they liked, others were only interested in the cash, others tried to trade in to later make a profit.
We were then given some old money to have a close look at, from shells and cinnamon bark to roman coins and even a counterfeit 1 pound coin.
The budgeting activity, where each group had to proportion the cowrie shells they were allocated to monthly expenses made everyone realise that living with parents certainly saves a huge amount otherwise spent on rent or a mortgage. We were certainly shelling out a huge amount of our budgets for flats and houses.
In the afternoon we were given the biggest task of all: design a new pound coin. Easy? Certainly not. Especially if you have to consider the costing associated with making the money. We needed to tessellate and try to get as many coins as possible on one sheet to prevent wastage. A few activities then helped us to come up with a few figures for how many coins we can produce in a week, how many staff we would want to employ, how much we would have to pay them in wages. In our final pitch we then had to present our new coin (designs included a square coin with a whole in the middle so that it could be carried on a string, a heart shaped coin, a flowery coin and round coins with the Shard and Prince William on them) and explain our pricing.
We had a great time learning about money and its history, doing our calculations and preparing our final pitch. The parting words from Mieka, our workshop leader were: “You can come again, any time!” and we felt like going back again, any time.

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