Grade K-2

This Little Piggybank Went to Market

Updated: May 4 2016,

Students will learn that work is the source of income and that banks are places in which people save and secure money they have earned.


[This lesson will flow more smoothly if you read the text sections aloud to your students. Feel free to adapt this or any section of this lesson to suit your specific needs.]

coin purseDo you have a piggy bank, change purse, penny jar, or some other place where you keep money? Maybe you have earned some money by doing chores or delivering newspapers, or you have been given money as a gift. [Odds are that all of your students have acquired and saved at least a few coins. However, a few may not have, in which case a certain degree of sensitivity may be required.]

Piggy banks and penny jars are good places to keep money safe. Perhaps you want to keep from losing your money, or keep your brother or sister from finding it.

Maybe you are saving up all your coins to buy something special, and you would like to keep track of how much you have saved. Keeping your money in one place makes that a lot easier, doesn’t it? Grown-ups use banks too. They take the money they make at work and put it in banks to keep it safe.

Have students consider any situation where they did work and got paid for that work. Have students fill in the data retrieval chart with the information in numbers, words, or illustrations.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate understanding of work as the source of income.
  • Identify banks as places in which money can be saved.
  • Recognize that banks serve the vital function of keeping money safe.

Resource List


[The process of this activity is structured to lead the students to two realizations: first, that work is the source of income and second, that a bank is the safest place in which to keep money.]

Step 1 – Getting Paid

[The following is to be read aloud to the students.]

money in the bankGrown-ups have jobs. Can anyone tell me what a job is? [The idea here is to lead a discussion wherein the children demonstrate an understanding of the fact that at a job, a person performs a particular type of work in exchange for monetary compensation.]

Today, you will all do a job, and you will each get paid for the work you do. [You may tailor this activity variously, depending on your preferences and your classroom situation. Students may clean or do other chores, perform a task, complete a special project, etc. Whatever the task, the important thing is that the students feel they have earned the money they are to be given. In the process, they will reinforce their understanding that one receives compensation for services rendered/work performed.]

Once the students have performed their tasks, pay each of them for their work (you may want to use monopoly money). Ask them to leave their pay sitting atop their desk.

Step 2 – Keeping the Money Safe

Next time, we will be using this money in a buying and selling game.

So, where should we keep our money until then? Where would it be safest?

[Begin a discussion designed to lead the students to the realization that a bank would be the safest solution for storing the money. Take suggestions and discuss less secure options, such as leaving it on their desks or other unsecured locations for the week. Remind them of the function served by their piggy banks at home and then lead them to the idea of creating a bank in class.]

Step 3 – Creating the Bank

Now we are going to make a bank here in class. How would you like to do that?

dollar sign[This step in the process can be as simple or involved as you deem appropriate. A simple solution might be to provide each student an envelope upon which he/she writes his/her name and in which he/she places the coins. That envelope could then be placed along with the envelopes from the rest of the class in a lockable box to be kept in your desk or some other secure location. A more advanced version might be to convert the classroom closet into a makeshift bank, complete with a hand-painted sign to that effect on the door. It is up to you to determine the degree of complexity in this portion of the activity.]


[Pose questions to the class for discussion, with the goal of ascertaining their level of understanding of the concepts herein.]

This discussion may be as involved as you wish, but should at least ensure that the students:

  • recognize work as the source of wages
  • understand the vital role played by banks in keeping money secure.


Take note of the students’ participation in the activities and subsequent discussions. Make sure that all students demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts of earning wages and securing money.

Observe students as they explore the tasks in the interactive Piggy Bank activity. Assist them in apprehending the basic addition skills required to complete the activity.