Good Advice on Credit Cards Lesson Plan: Fees, Interest Rates, and Using Credit Responsibly

Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

In this Using Credit Responsibly lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 6-12, students use BrainPOP resources to identify the basic parts of a credit card and how personal information is encoded. Students will explain how credit systems work and the hidden costs of credit (including late fees and annual percentage rates). They’ll also evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using credit cards, propose strategies for using credit cards wisely, and formulate a personal philosophy toward buying things on credit.

Students will:

  1. Identify the basic parts of a credit card and how personal information is encoded.
  2. Explain how credit systems work and the hidden costs of credit (including late fees and annual percentage rates).
  3. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using credit cards.

Materials:

  • Computer and projector for showing BrainPOP resources
  • Paper and pencils or individual computer access for students to compose their advice columns

Vocabulary:

loan; credit provider; credit limit; authorize; statement; balance; interest; late fee; income; creditor

Preparation:

Preview the Credit Cards movie and activity pages.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Pose an open-ended question to get students thinking critically about the topic: Are credit cards a good thing or a bad thing? Have volunteers share their opinions and experiences in pairs or in a whole-class discussion.
  2. Use the Quiz as a pre-test for the class. Click on 'graded quiz' which will not reveal the answers as you go.
  3. Show one question at a time and facilitate discussion. You may choose to have students indicate their answer choices with a hand signal, and in instances of disagreement, ask volunteers to share their thinking. After the quiz, leave the Results Options page open so you can return to it after the quiz.
  4. Open the Credit Cards movie in a new tab or window and play it through. Consider turning closed captioning on to help students process the information. Pause throughout the movie for note-taking, asking questions, discussing key points, etc.
  5. Return to the tab or window that holds the class' pretest results. Click on 'View Your Results' and then 'Review Your Answers" to go over each question as a class, discussing any answers that students had disagreed on or gotten incorrect.
  6. Have students create an advice column (brochure, newsletter, blog post, etc.) about credit card savvy for their classmates and/or the community. The column should address common questions and misperceptions and inform others about both the benefits and disadvantages of credit cards. Reference the Q&A section for ideas and inspiration. Allow students to work on the task in pairs or small groups. They may choose to hand-write the column or type it using a word processing or publishing application.
  7. Revisit the initial question (Are credit cards good or bad?) and have students share whether their opinions changed after viewing the movie and writing the advice column. What will be their personal approach to credit card usage? What precautions will they take? You may have students write a paragraph or essay on this topic.

Extension Activity:

In a follow-up lesson, quickly review the parts of a credit card and discuss the true/false questions on the Activity page. Assess student learning about the process of buying something with a credit card by assigning the Graphic Organizer as independent work. Future financial literacy lessons could be based on the Banking, Budgets, or Interest movies.