My Bank, My Decision!

K, 1, 2

Each student will make a personal bank for home and decide how they will spend the money they collect—for saving, spending or donating. Bring the money the class collected to the charity of their choice (see Attachment One: Decision-Making Model from Lesson Three: Decision-Making Model).

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Forty–Five Minute Class Period
The learners will:
  • use art media to create a “bank” to use at home.
  • plan how to divide up earnings into the three-part bank.
  • A variety of recycled containers such as water bottles, milk containers, cardboard tubes, potato chip tubes, etc. (enough for three per student)
  • A variety of collage and art materials to use as decorations (buttons, glitter, cut up fabric, pieces of felt, etc.)
  • 3” x 5” Index cards, cut in half for labels. Each student needs three labels (3” x 2.5”)
  • Glue, scissors, markers, etc.
  • One completed three-part bank (for display). The three cylinder-shaped containers are attached side by side so the openings all face the same way.
Home Connection 
Interactive Parent/Student Homework:Send home a letter (see Attachment One: A Note about Three-Part Banks) explaining the purpose of the three-part banks. Encourage parents to help the children set reasonable goals for saving and donating.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Draw a circle graph on the chalkboard and divide into three sections—save, spend, donate—to show how people may use the money they take in (suggestion for teacher reference: 20-40% savings, 50-70% money to spend, and 10% charity). Discuss with the students how much of the money people earn goes into the different categories. The percentages will vary, but this will give students a general, visual idea. Discuss what adults might save for and on what they need to spend money. Ask the students to propose ideas for what they might save for. Review why people choose to donate money.

  2. Show the students the three-part bank model. Tell them that they are going to design and make their own three-part banks. They can use the bank to put the money they get into three categories: money to spend on immediate wants, money to save for a special purchase and money to donate.
  3. Students construct individual banks. First, each child picks three matching containers from the choices. They attach (glue, tape, etc,) the containers together side by side. They decorate the containers creatively with the provided art materials.
  4. As the students work, talk to them about what they plan to do with the money they will put in their banks (at home). Encourage them to think about something for which they would like to save their money. Ask them to whom they would like to donate some of their money. Ask them to think of things they like to spend money on as soon as they get it. Give each child three labels. The labels say spend, save and donate (preprint these for the younger students). Have the students illustrate the appropriate labels with ideas for which they will use each container of money.
  5. Count the money collected by the class for the agreed-upon charity. Tell the children how much it is. Depending on who gets the money, present the money to a representative, mail it or bring it to the location. If appropriate, have the students make cards or draw pictures to go along with the donation.
Teacher observation of student participation and enthusiasm. Display the banks that you have used for this unit. Give students story paper and have them draw a picture and/or write to show how they would use the money in their own lives. Use the following rubric for scoring: 4- Pictures or writing showing three or more supports, use of three vocabulary words along with constructive thought and legible writing. 3- Pictures or writing with two or more supports, use of two vocabulary words and legible writing 2- Simple picture, one support sentence, one vocabulary word included. 1- Simple picture
Cross Curriculum 
The students have been bringing in coins from home for at least a week. In this lesson, the students provide the planned service by presenting the money to the agreed-upon charity. Count the money collected by the class. Tell the children how much it is. Depending on who gets the money, present the money to a representative, mail it, or bring it to the location. If appropriate, have the students make cards or draw pictures to go along with the donation.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.6 Describe the concept of personal wealth.
  2. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
    2. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify why private resources (volunteers and money) are needed.