Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

It's a Balancing Act

Standard 4: Managing a Bank Account

Susan McHale, Chelsee Wilson, Sarah Brewer | Published: August 10th, 2022 by K20 Center


Students will discuss and evaluate the importance of managing and reconciling a bank account. Using a scenario, students will create a fictitious bank account register. Students also will investigate various local banks' checking account policies and compare them. Finally, students will draw conclusions about the consequences of mismanaging a bank account.

Essential Question(s)

Why is managing a bank account important? What are the consequences of mismanagement?



Students attempt to fill out a blank check based on prior knowledge.


Students watch a video about checking accounts and complete an I Notice, I Wonder handout.


Students read about checking accounts and banking policies. Students discuss and summarize what they read.


Students complete a check register activity to apply their understanding of bank account management.


Students contact individual banks to identify their checking account policies. Students discern the desirable features of a bank’s checking account.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Blank Checks (attached; one check per student)

  • I Notice, I Wonder handout (attached; one per student)

  • Reading (attached; one per student)

  • Check Register handout (attached; one per student)

  • Check Register Answer Key (attached; for teacher use)

  • Bank Resource List (attached; one per student)

  • Checklist for Opening a Bank Account (attached; one per student)

  • Highlighters


15 Minute(s)

Introduce the lesson using the attached Lesson Slides. Display slide 3 to share the essential questions with students. Ask them to comment on the first question: Why is managing a bank account important?

Then, ask if anyone knows what can happen if you mismanage a bank account. Use this prompt to direct students’ attention to the second essential question: What are the consequences of mismanagement? Accept all answers.

Display slide 4 to share the lesson’s learning objectives with students.

Go to slide 5 and pass out a fake blank check to each student. Read aloud the scenario on the slide. Then, allow time for students to write a check to the person sitting to their right.

Once each student has filled out the check, have them pass the completed check to the designated classmate. Ensure that everyone in the class has received a check for “lunch money.”


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 6 and pass out the I Notice, I Wonder handout. Inform students they will watch a video about checking accounts and how to write checks.

Play the video, titled “It's a Money Thing: Checking Account Basics.” Using the I Notice, I Wonder strategy, ask students to write at least three things they learn or observe during the video in the “I Notice” column of the handout.

After the video, ask for volunteers to share observations or information they wrote in the “I Notice” column. Discuss as a class.

Next, invite students to look over the check they received from their neighbor earlier. Ask students to think about the video’s instructions on how to fill out a check and use that information to determine whether their check is filled out properly. Have students raise their hands if they think the check is written correctly.

Go to slide 7 to show students an example of a correctly completed check. Remind students that any check that is not filled out properly cannot be cashed.

Then, go to slide 8 and pair students with Elbow Partners. Ask student pairs to discuss any further questions they have about checking accounts that the video did not address. Allow 5–10 minutes for partner discussion. From their discussion, have students write at least two questions in the “I Wonder” column of the handout.

Finally, call on pairs to share out their questions. As pairs share their questions, write these questions on a Padlet or in a Google Doc to refer to later in the lesson.


30 Minute(s)

Display slide 9 and pass out the attached Reading about checking accounts. Ask students to use the CUS and Discuss strategy to annotate the reading.

After students have finished reading and annotating, conduct a whole-class discussion. Call on volunteers to share a main idea and supporting details for each paragraph as you progress through the reading. Next, call on volunteers to share what they starred as the most important information or idea.

Return to the Padlet or Google Doc where you saved students’ “I Wonder” questions from the Explore activity. As a class, review the questions to determine if these questions have been addressed through the reading. If not, inform students that any lingering questions will be addressed by the end of the lesson.


25 Minute(s)

Inform students that they will create a check register to apply and extend what they learned from the reading. Display slides 11–12 to review the importance of a check register and its components.

Then, display slide 13 and ask students what might happen if they spend more than their balance, or the amount of money in their checking account. Call on volunteers to answer the question.

Pass out the Check Register handout to each student and read aloud Netaya’s story on the first page. After reading aloud, ask students to reread the story on their own and highlight any information that should go into Netaya’s check register.

Return to slide 12 and encourage students to reference the example of a completed check register as they work. Allow 15–20 minutes for students to complete their check registers.


45 Minute(s)

Inform students that they will evaluate the features of a checking account by interviewing different banks. Pass out the attached Checklist for Opening a Bank Account.

Display slide 14 and review each item on the checklist.

After reviewing the checklist, display slide 15 and assign each student a number from 1–6. Provide and review the attached Bank Resource List, which contains six banks’ websites and phone numbers.

Using the numbered banks on the slide, ask each student to investigate the checking account features of the bank that corresponds to the number they were assigned. Students should work individually to investigate their assigned bank’s checking account policies using the provided website.

Next, place students with the same bank assignment in groups of three or four. Encourage students to work together to share and compare information. If students are missing any items on the checklist, then the group should choose one or two representatives to call the bank and inquire about the remaining items. Students should then report their findings to the group.

To close the lesson, display slide 16 and invite students to get creative in advertising their bank’s checking account features. Allow student groups to choose whether to create an elevator speech, a poster, or a chant, song, or rap.

After student groups present their advertisements, have a whole-class discussion to revisit and address any lingering questions from the “I Wonder” class list created earlier in the lesson.

To assess students, you may choose to evaluate groups’ advertisements, or you may collect any of the following as possible assessments: the completed I Notice, I Wonder handout; the (correctly) filled-out check register; or the filled-out bank checklist.