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Grade 3-5

Banks, Bankers, Banking

Updated: May 4 2016,

Students will demonstrate understanding of the processes associated with banking by role- playing as customers, tellers, and guards.


Banks are very important. Just like a piggy bank or penny jar, banks are places where we can save our money, keep track of how much we have, and keep it safe.

Pig BankHave you ever been to a bank? Perhaps you went with your mom or dad, maybe on a day you were off from school, like a snow-day or school vacation. Did you notice all the different people working in the bank? Most people keep their money in banks, in what are called "bank accounts." Any one bank can have the accounts of thousands of people in it! This means that a bank needs to have lots of workers doing many different kinds of jobs. Can you think of what some of those jobs might be?

Today we are going to create our own bank here in class. Everyone will get to put his or her coins into a special place in the bank. This is called “opening a bank account.” Some of you will be bank “tellers.” These are the people that help the customers with their bank accounts. Some of you will play security guards, helping to protect the money in the bank. Some of you will also be greeters and custodians, helping to welcome the customers and keep the bank clean.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the names and responsibilities of different types of bank employees.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the processes associated with banking.
  • Recognize the importance of politeness in business relationships.

Resource List

  • Deposit Slip Handout: Students will fill out the deposit slip to use during the activity.
  • Interactive Activity: This activity can be used to see if students demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of banking, the roles of bank employees, and the importance of politeness in business interactions.

Money In The Bank


You can start the lesson with a brief discussion of interest and why banks might want to pay to use a person’s money. Use these questions to start the discussion.

  • Why did your mom or dad take their money to a bank?
  • Why would they want to keep the money there and not at home?

This discussion will lead well into the activities of the lesson.

Step 1 – Create the BankVault Door

Work with your students to arrange the furniture in the classroom so that it simulates bank lobby. [Some teacher’s may find providing legal tender to all students an impediment to the pursuit of this lesson. Please note that play money, candy, or plastic chips can easily be substituted.]

  • Make sure there is a place for customers to line up. [It is up to you to decide the degree to which you wish to make this activity authentic. If you so desire, guide the students into creating a "corral-style" area in which to queue.]
  • Use tables and chairs to make an area where the tellers help the customers open their accounts. [Again, the degree of complexity is your choice. Once the students become familiar with the process of playing teller and customer, you may wish to have multiple tellers working simultaneously, just as they do in a real bank. If so, you will need at this point to guide the students in creating multiple teller "windows."]
  • Make a bank vault. This will need to be in a safe place, possibly in the corner of the classroom. Make sure there is enough room to store everyone’s deposit boxes.

Step 2 – Hire the Employees

  • You, the teacher, are the Bank President. Choose students to work as tellers, guards, greeters, and custodians. Some of the guards will bring money to the vault; others will keep the vault safe. Greeters should stand near the entrance and welcome customers as the enter and exit the bank. Custodians should have access to the entire bank area, as they will be responsible for the cleanliness of the bank. Have broom, dustpans, and/or vacuums available for them to use. [The most obvious criterion by which to determine the suitability of a student to serve as a teller is his/her ability effectively to count coins and reach an accurate sum.]
  • Ask the students: What job they would most like to do. What they need to know in order to be a good teller? What do the guards need to do? How are greeters important to the operation of a bank? How important are custodians to the operation of a bank? [If you deem it appropriate, you can ask the children if they can think of any other types of bank employees. Of course, bank president, tellers, and guards cover the basics, but it is conceivable that some students are more familiar with banks and have noticed the existence of supervisory tellers, loan counselors, etc. Perhaps a creative student will even mention the existence of ATM machines and request to play-act as one.]

Step 3 – Opening the Accounts: Customers

[At this point, you will need to have distributed everyone’s allotment of coins.]Banker

  • Customers should decide how much money to put in the bank.
  • Instruct the students to print out the Deposit Slip Handout. [Note that the handout contains three deposit slips, so not every student must print a copy.]
  • Have the students take turns bringing their money and deposit slips to the teller.
  • Remind the students that it is important to be nice and polite. For example, it is polite to say "Hi, I would like to open an account please."
  • Have the students wait patiently until the teller is ready, then instruct them to give him or her their money.

Step 4 – Opening the Accounts: Tellers

  • Remind the tellers that when a customer comes to them and tells them that he or she wants to open an account, they should respond politely. Have the students take the customer’s deposit slip and look at the last name. Put the word Mr. or Ms. before the last name and call the customer by this name, just the way your students do with your name in the classroom. Explain to the tellers that this is a respectful way to speak. Inform the students that when a customer and a teller speak, it is called a "business relationship." In business relationships, politeness is always important.
  • When the customer gives the teller his or her money, instruct the teller to count it. When they are sure that they have counted correctly, have the teller check to see that the amount of money is the same as the amount the customer wrote down on the deposit slip.
  • Instruct the teller to write the customer’s name on a piece of paper. Then have them write their own name and the amount of money he or she deposited. Inform the students that this is called a "deposit receipt." Have the teller give the deposit receipt to the customer.

Step 5 – Guarding the Money

Inform the student that:

  • Each time a teller takes a deposit from a customer, a guard should bring the deposit box to the vault.
  • At least two guards should be watching the vault at all times.

Step 6 – Greeters and Custodians

  • As the students deposit their money, the greeters will active. Remind the greeters that they are to politely greet each person as they enter and exit the bank. This could be by shaking hands or by saying hello. They should always make the customers feel welcome and happy to be in the bank. Striking up a conversation with waiting customers is another way to make the customers feel comfortable.
  • At this same time, the custodians will be simulating the cleaning of a bank. They can empty trash cans, vacuum the carpets, scoop snow off of the sidewalks, etc.


Class Discussion:
Banks are very important in our society and that means bank workers are important too! What job did you do? Did you understand your responsibilities? Did you enjoy it? Were you polite to the customer?

Without customers, we wouldn’t need banks. You all played bank customers. Did you understand how to open a bank account? Were you polite to the teller?


Observe and monitor students' behavior during the banking activity and take note of their participation in the follow-up discussion. Make sure that all students demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of banking, the roles of bank employees, and the importance of politeness in business interactions.

Take note of each student's performance in the Money in the Bank activity (see Resources). Offer assistance and assess results as appropriate.