Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Brother, Can You Loan Me a Dime?

Standard 3: Banking & Financial Services

Susan McHale | Published: July 13th, 2022 by K20 Center


Students will investigate financial lending sources and compare their services. Students will identify similarities and differences among the different sources through a mind-mapping strategy and evaluate which financial source offers the best opportunities for lending.

Essential Question(s)

What types of financial institutions lend money?  How do these sources compare with each other?



Students express their opinions about when it is appropriate to borrow money.


Students identify various types of financial institutions and services they are aware of.


Students read about different financial services and complete a highlighting activity.


Students create mind maps showing visual connections and differences among the financial services.


Students write a two-minute paper explaining the similarities and differences among the various financial services.


  • Student computer and internet access

  • Four Corners Signs

  • Poster materials and markers

  • Financial Services Reading

  • Lesson slides

  • Highlighters for all students

  • Mind Map Scoring Rubric

  • Index Cards (optional)


15 Minute(s)

Show slides 2-3. Introduce the lesson title, the essential question and the lesson objective.

Show slide 4. Invite students to participate in a Four Corners activity

Read the statement on the slide aloud: “It’s okay to go into debt for what you need.” Give students about one minute to think about the statement. Then, ask them to stand in the corner that best represents their opinion of the statement.

Give students time to discuss with others in their corner why they chose the response they did. After they have had an opportunity to discuss the issue, have each group pick a representative to share out their choices and their reasoning, explaining to the whole class why they made that choice.


20 Minute(s)

Ask students to take out a sheet of notebook paper and fold it lengthwise or hotdog style. This should make two columns. Give students a “quiz” about what they know about financial institutions and services. Have students label their paper with letters A through E.

Show slides 5-9. Ask students to identify the financial institution or service they see pictured on each slide.

  • A = Bank

  • B= Credit Union

  • C= Credit Card

  • D=Pay Day Loan Store

  • E= Mortgage Company

Show slide 10. Have students check and correct their answers.

Form students into groups of three.

Show slide 11. Ask groups to discuss what they know about each financial institution or service and to jot down this information in the second column. Allow about 10 to 15 minutes for this part of the activity.

Show slides 5-9 again. As you go through each financial institution, ask groups to volunteer what they might know about each financial institution or lending source.


30 Minute(s)

Pass out a highlighter and the Financial Services handout to each student.

Show slide 9 again. Assign an agency/loan source to each student in the room, one through five.

  1. Banks

  2. Credit Unions

  3. Credit Cards

  4. Pay Day Loan Stores

  5. Mortgage Companies

Show slide 12 when students know their assigned topic. Ask students to highlight important information in the financial services reading about the topic they were assigned. This activity is Categorical Highlighting.

Once sufficient time has been given for students to read the text, assign all of the students who highlighted the same topic to small groups to share their highlighted information. Limit group size to three or four. If the class is large, you may have two groups discussing the same topic.

Show slide 13. Ask groups to create a three-sentence summary of their topic. Have groups share out their summary to the class.

Show slide 14. Arrange students in pairs. Give each pair 44 index cards. Pass out the Card Sort handout. Ask students to create one card for each term. On a separate card, have them write a definition for the term, based on the context. Have the pairs mix up the cards and turn them face down. Instruct students to take turns with their partners matching the terms with their definitions. Once students indicate they have mastered the terms and their definitions, encourage them to challenge other teams.


40 Minute(s)

Show slides 15-16. Have students follow the steps below to generate their group mind maps.

  1. Instruct students to write and circle the main idea of the content in the center of the page.

  2. Have students branch out from the center of the page with more ideas that elaborate on the main idea.

  3. Remind them to use a variety of colors and a combination of words, pictures, and symbols to describe the content.

  4. Have students connect related ideas with arrows and lines. Encourage them to elaborate on the connections they make with more words, pictures, or symbols.

  5. Have them discuss the sample mind map on slide 16.

Show slide 17 to illustrate another example of a mind map. Point out that the sample mind map shows connections of favorite pastimes. The pastimes have been divided into categories to show connections among the pastimes—indoor, outdoor, summer, and winter. Instruct students to find connections among the different lending sources in a similar manner by first identifying commonalities.

Show slide 18. Ask students to use this sample mind map to get started on their own.


20 Minute(s)

Show slide 19. Ask each group to leave a representative by their mind map to explain connections and answer questions.

Ask students to walk through the Gallery Walk. As students view different mind maps, encourage them to ask questions of the group representative. Have the class to observe general similarities and differences among the various financial services.

Show slide 20. After students have looked at all mind maps, have them return to their seats and write a Two-Minute Paper that addresses the following questions:.

  • What connections do you see among the financial services?

  • What differences do you see?

  • In your opinion, what service seems the best source from which to borrow money? Why?