Beacon Lesson Plan Library

An American Spy with Money To Spend

Joyce Honeychurch
Colleges and Universities - Florida


Teachers can teach across the curriculum as students use imagination, math, reading, computer, geography, and social studies skills in this unique, innovative, and fun lesson where students pretend to be international spies!


The student estimates solutions to real-world problems involving measurement, including estimates of time, temperature and money.

The student uses various map forms to acquire information (for example, location, distance, direction, scale, symbol).


-Currency Conversion Table (see attached file)
-Computer with Internet access
-Hard copy of world map via Internet site


1. Teacher should review the URLs to become familiar with the mechanisms for currency conversion and map locators.
2. Teacher should make enough student copies of the Currency Conversion Table (see attached file) and the world map found at
3. Obtain access to computers with Internet access.


1. Tell students that they have just graduated from college and are on an important spy mission for the American Government to infiltrate terrorist cells within five nations where there has been suspected terrorist activity.

2. Ask students to get out their spy pads (a piece of paper or a notebook) and a pencil to take confidential notes.

3. Assign students the countries that they will be visiting and any background information that you may choose to give. The countries are as follows: 1. Iran, 2. Phillipines, 3. Germany, 4. Pakistan, and 5. United Arab Emerites.

4. Give spies $2,500 (USD dollars) and tell them they need to spend $500.00 in each country.

5. Give spies hard copy of the Currency Conversion Table and World Map found at this website (

6. Instruct the spies to go to
find.htm and locate their countries (Iran, Phillipines, Germany, Pakistan, and United Arab Emerites), marking their world maps and figuring out a logical (1,2,3,4,5) itinerary.

7. Have the spies use the above site to find the names of the different currencies and begin filling in their Currency Conversion Table.

8. Check to see that the itineraries are logical.

9. Lead the spies toward the next step, currency conversion at http://www.xe.

10. Tell the spies to fill in the blanks of the Currency Conversion Table.

11. Have the spies hand in the Currency Conversion Table for evaluation.


The correct locations on the map will be graded. The logical itinerary is somewhat subjective and is up for discussion between students and teachers. The main idea is to get students thinking about the most direct travel routes. Estimation of distances might be used here to help determine whether an itinerary is logical. If a teacher wanted less subjectivity here, the teacher could give the students a starting point and an ending point and have them figure out the most logical points in between, with definite right and wrong answers. The Currency Conversion Table will have definite right and wrong answers as it is a math equation. There is no answer key provided because the exchange rates fluctuate daily. The Website is actually doing the math, and the students are graded on whether they are transferring the information into the correct columns on the chart.

Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


US Dollar amounts may be changed, and/or the exchange of dollars for foreign currency could be calculated by students once the rate is found. Comparisons of daily exchange rates could be done. Students could work in groups taking on the identity of different coutries to collect data.
Students could work in groups to accommodate different learner's styles and abilities. Currency Conversion Table could be enlarged for the visually impaired student. Currency Conversion Table could be simplified for students with lower cognitive abilities.

Web Links

This site contains the recommended world map.
Atlas sites

This is the site recommended for the students to locate specific countries.
Graphic Maps

This is the recommended site for students to do the exchange rates.
The Universal Currency Converter

Attached Files

The Currency Conversion Table.     File Extension:  pdf
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