Lesson 4: Credit—Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between?
Secondary, Unit 2: All about Banking, Lesson 4
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The Ramsey Show Video: Do I Really Need to Build My Credit? Financial Wellness by RISE Video: Building Good Credit Google doc: Credit: Good, Bad, or Neutral?

Lesson 4: Credit—Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between?

Learning Objective:

Students will be able to compare and contrast opinions and ideas about credit and begin to formulate their own opinions and ideas.

Jump$tart Standard: Managing credit:

8-6c. Justify the use of credit for a specific purchase
12-10a. Describe how failing to repay a loan can negatively impact a person’s finances and life.

SEL Competency: Responsible decision-making



East/West Activity (5-10 min)

Say: Everyone please stand up. I want you to move to the east side of the room if you believe that credit is entirely good. Stand on the west side if you think credit is entirely evil. And stand in between if you’re not really sure or fall somewhere in the middle.

Another way you might think about this: if you believe that only cash, or money you actually have, should be used to buy things, go to the west side. If you believe that credit or loans can and should be used whenever they’re available, go to the east side. And if you believe that people should use some combination of cash and credit, stand somewhere near the middle.

Alternatively, you can have students draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write “good” on the far right side and “evil” on the far left. Have students draw an X to indicate where they stand with their opinion on credit.

Say: Now, talk with your peers about whether you think credit is good or evil—and talk about why. Be sure to speak with at least 2 people who are in different parts of the room than you.

Call on a few students to share out their thoughts.

Say: Ok, you can sit down.

Credit Discovery (20 min)

Say: We’re going to watch two videos together and talk about each. Then you’re going to do some independent research on credit. It’s important to have an informed opinion, so let’s consider a number of perspectives.

Share the Dave Ramsey video, which is anti-credit (~3:30 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9WoMpKW6LE

Ask: What are your thoughts about this video? Has your view about credit changed a bit? 

Share the Financial Wellness by RISE video, which is more neutral about credit (~4:20 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ8_NKh4C08 

Say: What are your thoughts about this video? Has your view about credit changed?

Say: Now, take about 10 minutes to research credit on your own. You might start by re-watching parts of the 2nd video and taking notes, just so you can get familiar with some of the basic terms and ideas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQ8_NKh4C08 

To find other informative videos, articles, or sites, you might search for something like, “Is credit good or bad?”  

As you delve into this, keep in mind that a lot of people are pretty opinionated about credit because it’s affected them and the people they know in profound ways. And as you’re searching, think about your sources: when you’re on a website for a bank or credit union, do you think it’s going to be against credit? Those institutions want to make money—and they make it through the interest they earn from giving people loans (which is essentially the same as providing credit). So be aware of your sources and whether they’re biased in one way or another. If you can, find sources that end in .gov, .edu, or .org—generally speaking, those are likely to be more reliable.

Have students write down at least 3 interesting facts or opinions they learn about credit.

Discussion (10 min)

What did you discover? Let’s make a collective list of the pros, cons, and neutral information we’ve gathered about credit. And if you hear someone state something as a fact when you believe it to be more of an opinion, you may silently stand up and be prepared to refute it with information you’ve found. (But you only get to do this once during our 10 minute discussion, so listen carefully and choose wisely!)

Share this document and ask students to volunteer information to add to it. 

Reflection/Exit Ticket (5 min)

Write down one way credit could be harmful in your own life and one way it could be helpful. 

Then, on a scale of 1-10—with 1 being terrible and 10 being fantastic—indicate how you feel about credit after what you’ve learned in this class. Give me this exit ticket on your way out.