Credit Cards

9, 10, 11, 12

The purpose of this lesson is for the learner to acquire a knowledge and understanding of the information and skills needed to use credit responsibly. The learner will synthesize this knowledge and understanding in the development of an advertisement designed to promote the responsible use of credit.

PrintThree Fifty to Fifty-Five Minute Class Periods (not including the time given to work on the production of the advertisement campaign)

The learner will:

  • decipher the language in credit card offers.
  • make an informed decision after comparing credit card offers.
  • locate relevant information from a credit card statement.
  • synthesize their learning into a "using credit responsibly" advertisement.
    • Each learner's copy ofMy Future Money Pie Chart at 55 Years of Age Homework (Handout Five- Lesson One): Optional- for recall use only
    • Each learner's copy ofMy Future Money Pie Chart at 55 Years of Age Revisited (Handout Nine-Lesson Three): Optional- for recall use only
    • Instructor's copy of Choosing and Using a Credit Card Responsibly (Handout One).
    • Credit Card Applications-Three applications representing different credit card companies for each group of three learners. (NOTE: If internet is available, this may prove a more efficient way to obtain copies of credit card applications)
    • If internet is unavailable to the learners, download learner copies of resources/tutor/statements/credit_state.php
    • Group copies of Comparing Credit Cards (Handout Two)
    • Group copies of Credit Advertisement Rubric (Handout Three)
    • Art materials for the construction of the pie chart/credit slogans display.
    Teacher Preparation 

    If internet access is not available to the learners, provide three Credit Card applications to each group. These can be download from a credit card site or obtained in most retail stores. If internet access is not available to the learners, download and copy the article found at



    1. Anticipatory Set: Begin this lesson with the students sharing their writings/reflections from Lesson Three. Following this sharing, pose this thought provoking statement, " People typically tend to cut back on theirdonating to charity--become less philanthropic with their treasures--when their desires and wants exceed their budgets." (Be sure that the learners know and understand that while philanthropy is shown by giving time and talent, it also includes the donating of treasures--money--for the common good.) Have the learners share their thinking about why this statement may or may not be true. Ask the learners to guess the average number of credit cards and annual credit debt in every household in American. (Consumer reports indicate that there are an average of seven credit cards and an average credit debt of $9,300 in every household in the United States today.) Ask the learners of the four ways to use money, how many of those ways directlyaffect charity/charitable organizations? (Just one, Donate.) Ask them to share how important they think charity/charitable organizations are for the common good and why someone who donates their time, talent and/or treasure might be considered a good citizen. Have them silently recall their reflection comparison comparing their original My Future Money Pie Chart at 55 Years of Age (Handout Five- Lesson One) proportions with their My Future Money Pie Chart at 55 Years of Age Revisited (Handout Nine-Lesson Three) taking particular note of the impact the huge credit card debt had on the amount they proportioned for Donate. Indicate that today they will identify ways to responsibly select and use credit inorder to more easily proportion their use of money, stick to their 'budget, and avoid huge credit debts.

    2. Lecture/discuss choosing and using a credit card responsibly Choosing and Using a Credit Card Responsibly (Handout One).

    3. Arrange the class into groups of three and distribute copies of Comparing Credit Cards (Handout Two). Tell the class to go on-line at (If internet is not available to the learners, provide three Credit Card applications to each group) and select three different credit card options, using the information found at each credit card site the learners are to fill out the Comparing Credit Cardssheet.

    4. In a group discussion, have them share and discuss their findings and draw some conclusions based upon what they discover.

    5. Have each of the learners go on line at for access to reading a statement. (Note: If internet is not available to the learners download the tutorial, duplicate, and distribute a copy to each learner.

    6. Pose questions concerning the statement. Have the learners locate the information and respond appropriately.

    7. Summarize the importance of responsibly choosing and using credit and indicate to the learners that by now they should realize that huge credit debt can be the result of not only abusing credit, but also of not fully understanding it.

    8. Arrange the learners into groups of four and indicate that because it is so important that people understand what they are getting themselves into when they choose to use credit, their group is being asked to provide a service to their peers by designing an advertisement (either print or video media), the goal of which is to provide useful information about credit so that everyone will be better informed and more able to avoid huge credit debt.

    9. Tell the learners that their ads will be displayed during parent/teacher conferences, video announcements, community night, etc. and that the ads are being created in accordance with the guidelines found in the Credit Advertisement Rubric (Handout Three).

    10. Have them brainstorm as to why/how by doing this they are being philanthropic (They are sharing their time, talent, and treasure for the sake of the common good of all those who will encounter their ads.)

    11. After sufficient time has been given for the completion of the ads, have each group present their ads to the rest of the class for input and constructive criticism based upon the Credit Advertisement Rubric (Handout Three).

    12. Have each group then consider and make the recommended changes to their ads prior to the public showing of the ads.

    13. Conclude this lesson/unit by having each learner create one sentence and/or slogan concerning the use of credit that would ensure ones ability to create and follow a budget for spending, saving, investing and donating.

    14. Ask the learners to reflect on their learning by writing a short essay comparing and contrasting the effects of using credit responsibly and irresponsibly for themselves, their families and the common good.


    The learner's involvement in his/her group discussions, the depth of understanding reflected in his/her group's advertisement project and presentation, as well as his/her creativity in developing the one sentence/slogan and the relection essay, all form the basis for the assessment of this lesson.

    Cross Curriculum 

    The learner will use the knowledge that they have gleaned from the previous lessons to create an advertisement about the responsible use of credit in our society. The students can choose to do a print or a video advertisement. (NOTE: The print advertisements could be published in the school newspaper while the video advertisements could be incorporated into a school's video announcements program. Both the advertisement and the pie chart/credit slogans can be displayed for the community at Parent/Teacher conferences, a local community night, or the public library.)

    Philanthropy Framework

    1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
      1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
        1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
        2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
    2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
      1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
        1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
      1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
        1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
      2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
        1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
        2. Benchmark HS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
        3. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
        1. Benchmark HS.1 Describe different processes of program evaluation.