15 Real-World Lessons You Can Teach Kids NOW

The time for financial literacy and real-world learning is now. And there is no better free resource for educators to use than Everfi. Through interesting, relatable scenarios and real-life simulations around topics like financial literacy and social-emotional learning, teachers can easily bring the real world into their classrooms.

I encourage teachers and administrators to check out Everfi and figure out the best fit for their curriculum needs when you are in an in-person or remote environment. In this post, I’ll share some ideas that you can bring to your classroom immediately.

Everfi sponsored this post. All opinions are my own.

I like how each of these courses aligns with national and state standards. If a topic is of interest to you or your school, you can download standards-alignment documents to help find a fit. Many of these units fit easily into an existing course, adding fun and real-world engagement as students learn.

Financial Literacy Topics

Idea #1 – FutureSmart

I love real-world applications, and this middle school financial literacy lesson gives us that.

“By assuming the role of Townville’s Mayor and helping the citizens achieve their financial goals, students address real-world financial decisions within the context of a larger goal. The result is a learning experience that builds healthy financial habits and encourages students to apply a variety of financial skills to many connected decisions.”

financial literacy curriculum FutureSmart

Students create budgets, shopping plans, and comparison shopping while learning about the effective use of credit. They also dig into careers and understand college financing options. They progress into finance as they learn about the time value of money, interest rates, and even setting financial goals. 

Grade Level: 6-8

Time Required: 3.5 hours – 6 lessons

middle school financial literacy

Idea #2: Everfi Financial Literacy Foundations

As we look at excellent options for your high school curriculum, this unit is a great place to begin.

In this six-lesson course, students start off by learning about banking options. Then they learn about sources of income and employment options. Budgeting, consumer skills, and managing credit and debt are also topics, as well as financing a college education. The unit concludes with a lesson about insurance and how it helps students manage risk.

financial literacy for high school

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Required: 4 hours – 6 lessons

financial literacy lesson plans

Idea #3: Vault

If you’re ready to help elementary-aged children understand financial literacy, Vault is the perfect course for you. This course is gamified and incorporates social-emotional skills (CASEL standards). 

financial literacy for middle school

Students think they’re just playing a game, but teachers know that these lessons align with standards. You can have powerful conversations about important financial topics as a result of sharing these lessons with your students with Vault.

Grade level: elementary grades

Time Required: Five lessons may take a different amount of time depending on grade level.

free elementary financial literacy lesson plans

Idea #4: Money Moves

This high school lesson covers banking, identity theft, and financial management. Peer-to-peer transactions are discussed as well. Money Moves is a course in the responsible use of modern banking and will help students as they prepare to use virtual payment apps to send one another money.

financial literacy for students

After students learn basic financial literacy, this course will help them prepare for banking in the real world. I highly recommend this for students who are almost ready to start banking.

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Required: 4 20-minute lessons

free banking and personal finance


Idea #5: Marketplaces

This course for high school students helps them understand how markets work so that they can move toward wealth creation. Financial markets, IPO’s, debt financing, angel investing, and more about the world of finance and markets will help students be prepared to speak the language of money and finance. This course will give students an important foundation in the terms of today’s business world.

high school financial literacy lessons

Grade Level: 9-12

Time Required: 5 Lessons – 20 minutes / lesson 1.5 hours total

free market and finance lesson plans


Idea #6 NFTE Venture

This entrepreneurial expedition is a youth entrepreneurship curriculum that will help students think like entrepreneurs. Designed for grades 7-10, it is also linked with Math and ELA Common Core standards. Developed with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), it uses interactive simulations and personal development activities.

financial literacy

This fantastic curriculum is a great way to help students have a fun, exciting activity while learning about the basics of entrepreneurship.

Grade level: 7-10

Time: 4 lessons – 20 minutes each – 1.5 hours.

free entrepreneurship lesson plans

College and Career Topics

Idea #7 Pathways

College costs can be difficult, but students can make wise financial decisions as they approach this conversation with their parents. In this module, students learn about requesting financial aid, applying for FAFSA, understanding student loans, and budgeting for loan repayment. 

high school financial literacy college

Students will benefit from this knowledge as their postsecondary education draws nearer. It’s perfect for online or blended classroom learning. This topic also overlaps with College and Career topics.

Grade level: 9-12

Time Required: 5 Lessons for 15 minutes each – 75 minutes total

free exploring higher education lesson plans


Cultural Literacy

Idea #8 306: African-American History

This digital program highlights a number of important leaders and events that have impacted America. These lessons span four key eras as students navigate principal figures and moments in Black American History. They’re aligned to ELA and State academic social studies standards and, like all EVERFI courses,  can be used in the classroom or in a remote environment.

A variety of materials are available for different grade levels.

cultural literacy civil rights

free african american curriculum

STEM Subjects

Idea #10 Data Science Foundations

“Big data” and data sciences are in high demand in today’s labor market. This data science curriculum will help students learn about what data science is and how it can be used in their lives. It’s an excellent introductory set of lessons that can be used in middle and high school, both in the classroom and remotely. I plan on using this in my classroom this year.

STEM career data science

Grade Level: middle and high school.

Time: 4 lessons – 30 minutes each – 2 hours

free data sciences lessons

Idea #11 Future Goals Hockey Scholar

Aligned with math and science standards for grades 4-7, the Future Goals Hockey Scholar course reinforces STEM concepts with fun, interactive gameplay and real-life applications. Students will apply scientific thinking, geometry, and data analysis to this experience. While it will be especially exciting for students who enjoy hockey, all sports fans should be engaged with this fast-paced, gamified course.

stem career exploration

Grade Level: 4-7

Time: 15 lessons – 20 minutes each – 5 hours

free stem lesson plans

Early Literacy

Idea #11 WORD Force

Elementary students can join a ragtag group of superheroes as their commander, on a mission to repair their spaceship by leveling up through interactive literacy games. This fun set of activities will build reading comprehension, word building, sight words, and spelling. 

early literacy word force

free elementary literacy game

Grade Level: K-2

Time: 10 minutes / Game – 15 Games with 5 levels each


Social-Emotional Learning

Idea #12 The Compassion Project

This free curriculum helps students learn about compassion and how to relate to others compassionately. This “compassion education” course is part of a successful Social Emotional Learning (SEL) education program. The material includes lesson plans, videos, and digital lessons that work together to help students:

  • Define empathy and compassion
  • Identify emotions
  • Perform acts of kindness
  • Practice mindfulness and growth mindset

compassion and sel curriculum

Grade Level: Elementary School

Time:15 lessons – 30-45 minutes each

free compassion and sel curriculum

Health and Wellness Basics

Health and wellness lessons and courses will teach students some important topics to help them make healthy choices. Targeted to middle and high school students, there are three courses in this set.

Idea #13: Prescription Drug Safety

This evidence-informed prevention program used by 90,000 students across America debunks common myths, helps students understand addiction, how to refuse requests to take drugs and appropriate prescription drug disposal, and more. With one in five high school seniors reporting that they have misused prescription drugs, this topic is important for every high school.

free prescription drug safety lesson plans

free prescription drug safety lesson plans

Idea #14 Vaping: Know the truth

This course helps students understand the risks of vaping and helps them find a path to quit. By educating students on the facts that vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking and other facts about this alarming trend among students.

high school vaping lessons

free vaping awareness lessons


Idea #15: Mental Wellness Basics

This course helps students understand mental wellness as well as daily habits to maintain it. I particularly like that it encourages students to identify threats to mental wellness early as well as developing a mental health mindset. This is a difficult issue for so many and helping students understand issues as well as removing the stigma of getting help are important steps towards helping them live healthy lives.

mental health education

Free Mental Health Lessons

In Conclusion

Everfi has courses to help students with many important topics that schools and teachers need to teach. From financial literacy to many other topics important for today’s students to learn, these free lessons will help schools be successful whether they are in face to face or online learning environments. 

I like that many of these lessons can be completed over a short period of time. Additionally, many include engaging videos and games that will relate to today’s students. Get started today with Everfi!

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies that I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Kayla Colbert March 1, 2022 - 7:40 pm

I really enjoyed reading this blog. There are so many helpful ways that help teacher get ideas about how to teach student real life skills. I especially liked the smart budgeting, the emotion and mental health lessons. I believe that students need to be aware of their emotions and how to cope with such big emotions in tiny bodies. With the high rate of mental health problems and suicide in teens, it is so important to talk to students at young ages. As for the budgeting, I think students need to have some type of understanding about how things they have cost money and you have to work for money. They should learn about their needs and wants and know that they do not always have to get everything they think they want. Knowing how to save money is important for everyone to learn because we all spend money on unnecessary things. In conclusion, I really hope to use many of these life skill lesson in my future classroom. Great Read!

Vicki Davis March 16, 2022 - 8:31 pm

Great thoughts, Kayla. Saving money is so vital as well as your other points. Thank you for coming to my blog! I want it to be helpful to educators!


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