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Currency Exchange and
The Gang of Fifteen

Eric Enholm
GEON Teacher Consultant
Walnut Jr. High School, Grand Island, NE


One of the many challenges of traveling in foreign countries is trying to determine how much things actually cost in dollars, even though we are using local currency. This activity provides students with that opportunity as they "travel" around the world on the trail of the gang of fifteen.

Connection To The Curriculum
Geography, Economics, Math

Grade Level



1-2 Class Periods

Materials Needed:

1. Gang of Fifteen clues and information (provided)
2. International Exchange Rates (provided, from September, 1995
3. Reference materials, such as atlases, almanacs, etc., or computer data/program such as World Atlas, World Factbook, Culturegrams, or MacGlobe/PC Globe
4. Calculator for calculating exchange rates
5. World map handout for students to plot the gang's route.
6. Any foreign currency you might have for display


1. Students will demonstrate ability to research information using a variety of resources.
2. Students will demonstrate ability to understand and calculate currency exchange rates

Suggested Procedure:

Hand out the Gang of Fifteen information and clues. Work together with students on first country/clue. Given the clues, students will first need to identify the country. Next, they will have to use the exchange rate to calculate how much the gang spent in that country.Then have students proceed on their own or in groups.


On a separate sheet of paper, students will write down the name of each country they visited, together with the currency of the country, and the dollar amount that the gang spent.

The Gang of Fifteen

You are part of an International Investigative unit. An international criminal organization known as the Gang of Fifteen is known to have become active again, and is planning the eradication of crosswalks world-wide. Such a terrorist act cannot be allowed to happen, as widespread and indiscriminate jaywalking could spread overnight and lead to other more serious pedestrian crimes. We have found out about this organization through credit card bills that we have begun to monitor. Your job is to track the gang through its credit card trail. You will be given information about the countries they have visited and the amount that they charged on a stolen credit card. When you know the country, find out what the monetary unit is, check the exchange rate, and calculate how many dollars they spent. The credit card company is giving us the information in exchange for our help in tracking down the gang. All that they ask is help in figuring out the total amount of dollars that the gang spent. Here are the clues to help you find the gang. For each of the following, give the country, the foreign currency, and the dollar amount asked for (or the foreign currency amount, if given the dollar amount) Use the current exchange rate (or exchange rates are provided for September, 1995)

1. The gang was first spotted in one of this country's provinces by the RCMP at a lacrosse match. They spent 450 on refreshments, and then stole a boat.
2. The gang turned up here, where they were spotted eating Fish and Chips at a cafe in Cardiff. They apparently stayed in a flat which they rented for the time that they were there. For the flat, they spent 1100
3. The gang then travelled through the Chunnel and took a TGV to Strasbourg, the tickets costing a total of 1500
4. The gang next turned up in Flanders at a speech given by King Baudouin I. They apparently gorged them selves on waffles, for they charged a cafe bill of 2100
5. The gang then went north to Narvik and bought up a large supply of lutefisk and smalahode to take with them as they skiied cross-country. The total food and travel bill that they charged was $152.98 . How much in the local currency?
6. They crossed the border on their skis, and were soon spotted in Goteborg buying lots of warm clothing, for which they charged 6000
7. Next, the gang was spotted cruising on the autobahn in this country, decked out in new lederhosen, which they bought in Bavaria at a cost of $200 . How much in the local currency?
8. The gang next was seen in Catalonia on their way to Malaga, where they consumed massive quantities of gazpacho and attending several festivals. Altogether, during their stay here, they charged 150,000
9. The gang appeared in the Po River valley here and went down to Calabria, where they crossed over to Palermo. En route, the gang bought biscotti and large amounts of parmesan and mozarella at a total cost of 45,000.
10. The gang couldn't be found for some time until they appeared in Madras, wearing sarees that they had purchased at a cost of $175.17. How much in the local currency?
11. The gang headed east and escaped local police in samlors following a low speed chase in the city of Chiang Mai. The gang was very grateful to their samlor driver and after paying the fare, gave him a large tip for a total of 600
12. The gang stayed out of sight until they were spotted playing mah-jong in Kowloon. Gang members gambled and lost big at mah-jong and it cost them 3,300
13. The gang continued on to Pusan, where they spent 250,000 on Taekwondo lessons. They then left for
14. The city of Kobe, where they rode the bullet train the length of the island. Of course they charged the train tickets at a total cost of $212.89. How much in the local currency?
15. The gang was last seen here, bushwalking in the outback, with a large supply of camping equipment they had bought in Darwin at a cost of 60,000

Now, if you have figured out each country, monetary unit and have calculated correctly, you will have the honor of locating the gang and allowing for their capture. Plot the gangs route on a world map and give an accounting of how many American dollars they spent.

To calculate foreign currency amounts into American Dollars, take the amount of foreign currency spent and divide by the exchange rate. Current Exchange rates can be found in most major urban newspapers or at the following web sites:

Click here for exchange rates from August, 1997

Country Answers:
1. Canada
2. United Kingdom
3. France
4. Belgium
5. Norway
6. Sweden
7. Germany
8. Spain
9. Italy
10. India
11. Thailand
12. Hong Kong
13. South Korea
14. Japan
15. Austrailia

Currency Exchange Rates will vary over time so there is no answer key.