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American Indians of ND: Bartering


In small groups, have students create a bartering or trading activity to share with other groups in the classroom.

Have students select several objects found in the home or classroom, or find pictures/illustrations to use for trading or bartering with others in the class.

Have the students give each object a value or determine what each item is worth (e.g., one pencil can be traded for two paper clips, a manila folder can be traded for three pencils).

Have the students begin trading the objects with other groups for something they feel is worth the trade.

Answer or discuss in class the following questions after the bartering activity is completed:

  1. Did you find this an easy way to get the things you wanted? Explain.
  2. Did everyone you bartered with think your values were what you thought they should be? Explain what you did if there was not an agreement on the value of an item.
  3. What happened when others wanted to trade more than one object at a time, and you did not have items that they thought were of equal value?
  4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of our monetary system (i.e., a dollar or cents value is given to an item)?
  5. If you were given the power to change our monetary system, how would you change it, or would you leave it the same? Explain your choice.