Keeping Track of Your Money Then and Now

Home Education Unit Plans The Bank of North America: Our Nation's First Central Bank Keeping Track of Your Money Then and Now

Keeping Track of Your Money Then and Now

The second lesson in this unit focuses on the functions of a bank. It evaluates the purpose of our original bank and connects it with how we use banks today. Many students today do not know how to use a bank, or even what it means to receive an income, and this lesson will teach that and more through the lens of history. By following the standards for financial literacy and history, this lesson allows students to understand their personal finances and how to take care of them, by providing hands-on exercises in conjunction with a comprehensive PowerPoint.

Students have the opportunity to keep a ledger and to learn the meaning of a dollar through the Job Market game. For supplemental questions and activities, check out the financial literacy standards here.

Essential Questions

How does continuity and change within the United States history influence your community today?


Students will be able to:

  1. Understand the functions of a bank and how to keep and maintain their own personal finances.
  2. Learn the role of a bank within our government and discuss how it has changed overtime.
  3. Analyze different types of employment and income as well as saving vs. spending based on the financial literacy standards.

Suggested Instructional Procedures

  1. Begin by asking students a follow-up question from the previous lesson. Now that they understand how our first bank was started, ask how a bank can affect their own lives.  These pre-lesson questions should provoke a deeper understanding of our history and the functions of a bank. For example, ask students what it means to have an income or what happens when you are employed to do a job.
  2. Slide 2/3: Next, begin the PowerPoint slide show and start by discussing the use of a ledger. You can find an example of a ledger here, where students can keep track of their own finances. Discuss with students why it is useful to keep a ledger and using slide 3 to explain how we use ledgers today.
  3. Ask the students questions to check for understanding such as, how has technology changed how we can keep track of our money? If you wish to take it a step further, start a classroom bank/charter where students can earn rewards and keep track of them as well as create their own classroom standards.
  4. Slide 4: Introduce students to the purpose of a bank and the concept of earning money. How do we earn money and what does it mean to have an income or rent a property? Go through these vocabulary words and provide examples of each. Explain that you earn an income when you are employed to work a job. For example, if your neighbor pays you $10 an hour to walk her dog, the money you earn is your income. An example for renting would be if your family rents an apartment, since you are paying the owner of the building to use the space. Check out the Job Market game to help students understand the concept of income.
  5. Slide 5: This slide helps students understand the use of money. Start with a conversation on how we pay for things. Then discuss what we do if we do not have enough money to pay for something - by taking out a loan.  How do we repay loans? Use the caption in slide 5 to explain what it means to pay back a loan over a period of 6 months.
  6. Slide 6/7: These slides provide an overview of how we pay other people through personal checks. If you have a classroom bank, you can include transfer between students as a part of the bank/charter or ask students to create their own check based on the example check shown in the slide. Discuss the different aspects of a check and why we include a signature to keep the checks secure.  Lastly, move to slide 7 to talk about what happens if we spend more money then we have.
  7. Use the last slide to check for understanding. By the end of the lesson, students should understand how to properly use a bank as well as how to earn and spend their money. Use the activities provided for further understanding.


Account: A relationship established with a bank to keep track of your personal or business finances.

Bank Balance: Tells you how much money is in your bank account.

Bank Note: Acts the same as paper money and given by a central bank.

Bankruptcy: Unable to pay your debt.

Benjamin Rush: A doctor in Philadelphia and one of our founding fathers.

Cash out: Receive cash for the amount of the personal check.

Debt: Owing money.

Employer: Somebody who hires people to work a job.

Income: Money you have earned.

Interest: An amount of money that a bank deposits into your account just for keeping your money at that bank. Every day that you leave money in your account, the amount will increase little by little with money added by the bank.

Ledger: A book that keeps track of your withdrawals and deposits.

Loan: Money temporarily given that needs to be repaid, usually with interest. This means that you pay back more than the original amount of the loan.

Overspend: Spending more money than you have.

Personal Check:  A devicie for withdrawing money from your personal account.

Renting: Paying to use something, such as a car or a house.

Teller: A bank employee who will take your deposits or withdrawals.

Transfer: Move something from one place to another.