Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12

*Click to open and customize your own copy of the Debt Lesson Plan.

This lesson accompanies the BrainPOP topic Debt, and supports the standard of understanding concepts of credit and debt. Students demonstrate understanding through a variety of projects.


Ask students:

  • Why might someone apply for a loan from a bank?


  • Read aloud the description on the Debt topic page
  • Play the Movie, pausing to check for understanding. 
  • Assign Related Reading. Have students read one of the following articles: “In Depth” or “Dollars & Cents”. Partner them with someone who read a different article to share what they learned with each other.

Step 3: APPLY and ASSESS

Assign Debt Challenge and Quiz. prompting students to apply essential literacy skills while demonstrating what they learned about this topic.


Students express what they learned about debt while practicing essential literacy skills with one or more of the following activities. Differentiate by assigning ones that meet individual student needs

  • Make-a-Movie: Create a PSA that answers this question: Why should people be careful when considering a credit card offer?
  • Make-a-Map: Make a concept map identifying and explaining the risks and benefits of opening a line of credit.
  • Creative Coding: Code a learning game sorting debt-related vocabulary terms into self-selected categories.
  • Primary Source: Listen to a 2014 speech by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and cite details to answer accompanying questions.

More to Explore

Cat Insanity: Challenge players to apply knowledge of credit and debt while feeding hungry cats in this interactive game. 

Shady Sam: Players take on the role of loan sharks, using strategies to maximize their profits at the expense of their borrowers in this game. 

Economics Unit: Continue to build understanding around economic institutions by exploring more BrainPOP topics.

Teacher Support Resources:

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments