Activity 24: Plan a Bank Robbery

▶ Duration:  30–45 min
▶ Aim:  Oral fluency practice; banking vocabulary
▶ Summary:  A bank roleplay which leads to a group discussion on how to rob the bank.

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This activity was developed to add interest to a textbook chapter entitled "The City Bank". It begins with a roleplay between a bank customer and clerk. The customer carries out some basic tasks like opening an account and depositing money, but at the same time s/he has to casually ask some questions about the bank's security. Later, students form groups to decide how to rob the bank, based on this information.

The roleplay information is here: bank_rp.doc (html preview). Make enough copies so that each pair of students will receive one of each sheet.

Providing a diagram of the bank is highly recommended, to increase the realism of the situation. If a suitable picture appears in your textbook, you can adapt the roleplay sheet to match it, or you can draw a diagram on the blackboard, or you can use this picture from Advanced Talks Book 1 (Huadong Normal University Press). Make one copy for each pair, or photocopy it onto the back of the roleplay sheets.

The materials used in this activity can be collected and reused.

First, teach any vocabulary which is necessary for the roleplay, such as "open an account", "deposit", "withdraw", "exchange rate", "balance".

Introduce the picture of the bank, and check any important terms (eg. "What does a bank clerk do?", "What is a vault?", "What is a deposit slip?").

Explain that the students are going to do a roleplay, where one is a customer and one is a bank clerk. The customer has instructions for 5 days (Monday to Friday). They simply have to follow the sheet in order. The bank clerk has information about the bank: how to open an account, deposit money, etc. They don't follow the sheet in order, but instead use the necessary information to help the customer. Partners should not show their roleplay sheet to each other. Finally, explain that the customer is planning to rob the bank, and the sheet tells them a different question to ask each day. They should try to ask it in a very natural way, so as not to make the bank clerk suspicious. Check:

When the students are close to finishing the roleplay, write this information on the blackboard:


choose 3 of:

After the roleplay, tell the students to form groups (of about 4 students) and plan a bank robbery. They have the bank diagram, information about bank security, and can also choose a car and any three of the items listed on the blackboard. (You probably need to explain what "pepper spray" and "dynamite" are). Explain that the students have to plan the time of the robbery, and what each member of the group will do during the robbery. For example, who will drive the car?

If there's time, let some "gangs" explain their plan to the class. Often the students come up with some very creative ideas.

During the roleplay, some smart bank clerks may be reluctant to answer the customer's questions about security. Be on the lookout for students who act in this way, and ask them to pretend that they are a particularly stupid bank clerk who likes talking to customers!
Rating: 5 stars

An interesting activity, beginning with a fairly stuctured speech activity (the roleplay) and moving onto a freer group discussion. The key feature that makes this discussion successful is that the situation is quite concrete: there is a diagram of the physical environment, details of the bank's security, and a certain number of objects to be used in the robbery.

I have used this activity in my oral English class. It's very successful!! Thank you. This is another activity about bank.

Who Get the Loans?

You are a director in the Loan Department of the First National Bank in Iowa(assets: $ 1 billion). Now the country is in the midst of economic recession and interest rate are high, but the number of loan applicants is increasing each month. It is your responsibility to decide which of the applicants are good risks and which are not.
Consider: 1. The main purpose of the bank is to make money, but it does try to maintain the image of a responsible community member. 2. The borrower must pay at least 10% of the principal a year. Standard interest rates are 12.5% per year. 3. You can loan part or all of the loan request.

Decide and Write
Loan Applicant 1: Susan and John Jacobs, ages 47 and 48
The Jacobs are hard-working farmers who grow soybeans and cotton. Each year for over 10 years they have borrowed around $ 500,000 to plant their crops and then have repaid the bank at harvest time. Last year, because of a terrible drought, they lost all of their crops and were unable to repay their loan. As a result, they already owe the bank $ 600,000 and they want to borrow $ 750,000 more.

Loan Applicant 2: Pi-Leng and Jimmy Chan, ages 53 and 55
The Chans have just immigrated to the US from Hong Kong. They have no credit record in the US, but they were successful restaurant owners in Hong Kong. Neither of them presently has a job. They have deposited $ 40,000 of their savings at your bank. They would like to borrow $ 50,000 to open a new Chinese restaurant in town.

Loan Applicant 3: David Max, age 16
Mr. Max, a high school student, has a reputation as a mathematical genius, having won awards throughout the nation. He also has been an amateur inventor and has recently developed a solar-powered car! His invention has been tested by experts, who think it is workable. Max is applying for a $15,000 loan to build two prototypes of the car.

Loan Applicant 4: Peter and Roberta Hayes, ages 41 and 39
The Hayes have one child. Since their marriage 16 years ago, they have been saving their money for a down payment on a house. During that time they have lived in a trailer and three different apartments. Recently, Peter was promoted to become assistant manager of the grocery store in which he works ($ 17,000 a year salary), and Roberta is an Registered Nurse at the local hospital ($ 22,000 a year salary). They want to borrow $ 60,000 for a $ 75,000 house ($ 15,000 down payment).

Loan Applicant 5: John Harris, age 19
Mr. Harris¡¯s father is dead, and his mother works full time as a waitress to support the other five children in the family. Mr. Harris himself worked part time throughout high school to help his mother. Now he is requesting a $ 20,000 loan to finance his four years of undergraduate school.

For each applicant, you should write down following items on another piece of paper:
Advantages of providing loan: __________________________________________________
Risks of providing loan: ______________________________________________________
Conclusion: _________________________________________________________________

After the students' consideration and group dicussion, I ask them to reach a best solution and choose a group leader to report their solution to class.
03.11.2004 , 16:21

very good activity thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Felipe Miranda []
10.03.2006 , 02:21

nice.. soon we will meet!
Officer []
21.03.2006 , 00:54