Banking Lesson Plan: How Do Banks Work?

Submitted by: Rachel Zindler

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the basic purpose banks and the banking industry serves in the US economy. Students will understand the purposes of and difference between checking and savings accounts, and investigate why and how banks lend money.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Gain familiarity with the basic purpose banks serve in our economy
  2. Understand the purposes of, and difference between checking and savings accounts
  3. Understand why and how banks lend money


  • Print Activity Sheets: Activity, Graphic Organizer, and Vocabulary (enough for the whole class)
  • Print or have set up on computer FYI feature: In Practice (enough for the whole class).
  • Print each FYI feature: Did You Know?, In Depth, Dollars and Cents, and In Real Life (enough for ¼ of the class)
  • Print or project FYI Comic (one per pair)
  • Print KWL Graphic Organizer (enough for students to work in pairs)
  • Computer(s)
  • Access to BainPOP
  • Interactive Whiteboard (optional)
  • Print (enough for the whole class) or setup computers with the Quiz (only a ¼ of the class will need computers at the same time for this)


bank; banking; insured; check; interest; overdraw; balance; savings; withdraw; deposit; profit; loan; CD; safe deposit box; fractional reserve banking; investment bank; default; discount window; bank run; offshore bank; credit union; dye pack


Log on to BrainPOP and preview the Banking movie and read all related features. Print up suggested materials and set up computer and interactive whiteboard if you plan to use one.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Print or project the FYI Comic and ask students to discuss what the comic is about. What is a loan? Why wouldn’t the boy want to lend his money to Burton? Where do people usually get loans?
  2. Tell students that you will be screening the Banking movie twice. The first time they will just listen and watch. The second time they will be taking notes.
  3. Screen the movie. Remember that you can turn on the closed captions to support students who learn best when reading (click the button marked cc at the bottom right of the movie window). Also, remember to pause at various points for discussion. These are good opportunities to prompt students to turn and talk about new concepts as they arise.
  4. Screen the movie a second time. Ask students to take notes as they listen and watch. You can differentiate by providing some students with the Vocabulary FYI In Practice, and design their own checks, including all the elements depicted on the page. 3. At this station students read, discuss, and write a brief summary one of the following FYI features: Did You Know?, In Depth, Real Life, and Dollars and Cents. Each group can be responsible for understanding and presenting the material a different feature. Remember that these features can either be printed or read online. 4. Have students fill in the Concept Map Graphic Organizer to describe what can happen to their money after they deposit it into the bank.
  5. Gather the class together and have students share what they learned about banking from the FYI features.
  6. Finally, guide a class discussion to complete the KWL Graphic Organizer together to see what they have learned about Banking.

Extension Activity:

For students who need more of a challenge, ask them to review the vocabulary words in the FYI feature, “Language” and do further research on one of the words. They should be ready to explain the concepts to their peers.
You may want to follow this introduction with further investigation into financial literacy through related BrainPOP movies including Credit Cards, Interest, or Money.