Money and Opinion


While reading Ellana’s posts on our inquiry project, I noticed how much thinking goes into her posts which I like. I really like the amount of details that she puts into her work and how her opinion shines through to the reader. She is able to make good connection between our topic and her sources of information. The way she writes the post brings questions to mind which I think is a great quality to have when doing an inquiry. Overall I think her posts are great and I really enjoyed reading them.


Natalia’s posts have a wonderful use of opinion in them that the reader can really relate to and reflect on what she is saying. The length of the posts are great and I like the amount of detail provided in it. Her posts are also able to bring more questions to mind which I really like. I like that she does ask more questions in her post then she was given at first.

I think Natalia and Ellana are doing a great job with their inquiry posts. I like the amount of details there are in each post and their opinions are clear. I think we will be able to bring everything together the way things are going.

Thoughts on Money

We use money all time without ever really thinking about it but how exactly did money come about? We learn that people use to barter or trade an item for another so why are we currently not using that system? I want to know the reason for the change from bartering to actually using coins and paper. Money does not look the same in different countries, why is that? Is the way money looks determine by the countries culture? Did culture have a role in the development of money? It seems to me that I ask one question and get three in return which I’m fine with but it is just so hard to find information on these questions which makes me wonder if anyone has really thought about it before. Phrase: “Friend is our fortune indeed” why would you use this phrase with money? It doesn’t seem to make sense as fortune is always changing. Statement: “Featuring the comparatively unified size, weight and value, the bronze shell-shaped coin entered the circulation smoothly.” This may be true but from what I read about the first Chinese money, it was in many shapes like shells, knifes, and spades so how exactly could it have entered smoothly when there were all these different shapes? “northerners in China found it was hard to find enough shells from the south, so they used other materials like pottery, stone, bone, jade, bronze and gold to make shell-shaped money.” So why would they decide to use all of these other materials and is this similar to what other cultures did? I think it might have been easier for them to use a common rock but I guess they wanted to go the hard way\ Phrase: “To pay through the nose” comes from Danes in Ireland, who slit the noses of those who were remiss in paying the Danish poll tax. So this seems really harsh to me but if the Danes did it then other cultures could have also which makes me wonder why I don’t see any of this Statement: “Outside of China, the first coins developed out of lumps of silver. They soon took the familiar round form of today, and were stamped with various gods and emperors to mark their authenticity” I don’t think people went from shells to silver there had to be something in between but I can’t find anything on it This site gives a really good timeline for the development of money but it doesn’t explain why the switch from bartering to coins occurred. Phrase: “Money, in and of itself, is nothing” I like this phrase but if money was really nothing then it would not have been created in the first place. Statement: “These traded goods served as the medium of exchange even though the unit values were still negotiable. This system of barter and trade spread across the world, and it still survives today on some parts of the globe.” The terms were not always negotiable I’m sure but even if this system survived it would be very hard for it to work when there are tons of coins and paper money out there. “The Chinese moved from using actual tools and weapons as a medium of exchange to using miniature replicas of the same tools cast in bronze. Nobody wants to reach into their pocket and impale their hand on a sharp arrow so, over time, these tiny daggers, spades and hoes were abandoned for the less prickly shape of a circle, which became some of the first coins.” So my question is why? If you didn’t want to carry an axe around before why would you want to carry one that is made in metal? It doesn’t really make sense to me. Phrase: “As soon as man discovered metal, it was used to made utensils and weapons previously made of stone” I think metal was discovered long before it was used to make coins so how did people realize that metal could be used to make money Statement: “This elementary form of trade prevailed at the beginning of civilization, and may be found today among people of primitive economies, in regions where difficult access makes money scarce and, even in special situations, where people barter items without regard for their equivalence in value.” I think people that have primitive economies belong to countries that are ruled by another country. I also think there is some regard to the value of the items being trade or it wouldn’t be fair to everyone and the system would no longer work. This site has a lot of good details but talks way too much about certain things that I think are unimportant and doesn’t really talk enough about what I think is important. Phrase: “Money (which everybody wants) provides an intermediary substance, enabling the seller to choose when and where he wishes to become a buyer.” Money does let you choose when you want to buy an item and when you should sell it but I don’t know how much historical content it has Statement: “Wealth compressed into the convenient form of gold brings one disadvantage. Unless well hidden or protected, it is easily stolen.” Money can be stolen from anyone and not everyone hides it. Those with the most wealth are normally targeted first and always tend to item their money in the same area: a safe. Once the safe is found, there goes all of the money but those will less money are cleverer with hiding it so it is not found.   “By one of the strange coincidences of history, the idea of coinage occurs at the same period in two far separated parts of the world. While the craftsmen of Ephesus are striking coins in Asia Minor, the skilled casters of China are making coins by a different method – pouring molten bronze into molds.” Now how did both of the people discover the way to make coins? Again the more I dive into my questions, the more questions I get back.

When finding these sources I noticed that I wasn’t getting much on countries other then China really so that could be a problem for me since I can’t just relay on information about money from China. And iot is very hard to find anything that has the history of money and the development of it.

Why Currency?

For my groups’ inquiry project, we are dealing with the question how does currency relate to humanity? I decided to take the more historic approach to the question. The two question that immediately were how did currency develop in cultures? And how did bartering turn into currency? In doing my research I was only able to find why china switched from using cattle to using shells and coins: The northern people in China found it was hard to find enough shells from the south, so they started using other materials like pottery, stone, bone, jade, bronze and gold to make shell-shaped coins. The bronze shell-shaped coins heralded the start of the Chinese coin.
Although I was not successful at finding information for my first question, I was able to find a good amount of information for my second question. Civilizations used animals and resources to barter in the beginning. The most primitive form of money found is shells. Known in Africa as cowries and wampum in America. These small shells, deriving from the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean, were a treasured item in the civilizations of China and India from very early times. From India these attractive objects were carried along the trade routes to Africa. Similarly the American Indians use a small white cylindrical shell for ceremonial gifts, embroidered on to decorated belts or other ornaments.
The earliest known currency to be used in commercial transactions appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia by the third millennium BC. The currency used were gold bars which had to be weighed to establish their value each time they are exchanged. Later on, the gold bars were supplemented by gold rings for smaller sums. Egypt and Mesopotamia gold was deposited in temples for safe-keeping as temples were known for being safe places. In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple. This is the first documentation of banking. The earliest known coins in the western world came from the city of Ephesus in Ionia (in western Turkey) around 650 BC. The metal used in the coins is electrum which is a natural alloy of gold and silver found locally in the area. The coins were bean shaped and had a distinguishing mark on one side such as the image of a lion. Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, introduces the more well-known round coin in the late 3rd century BC. Cast in bronze rather than struck, they have a square hole in the middle which would become a characteristic of far eastern coins for the next two millennia. China developed paper currency and soon it was being used everywhere.

Inquiry prompt

What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is asking questions and gathering information that leads to looking into a subject that interests you.

“Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world.”

“A seeking or request for truth, information, or knowledge.”

“It starts with exploration and questioning and leads to investigation into a worthy question, issue, problem or idea.”


What is Inquiry Based Learning?

Teaching method where the student is giving a problem and has to find the answer to it on their own with the teacher guiding them.


Who uses Inquiry Based Learning?

All levels of education. Used more in elementary school and less in high school. It seems that most people agree on what it is but not where and how it should be used.