Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

How Will I Save for My Future?

Standard 5: Saving & Investing

Susan McHale, Kristen Sublett, Niky Shobert, Melissa Gunter | Published: July 20th, 2022 by K20 Center


In this lesson, students will engage in topics about saving and spending and explore investment vocabulary. They will read about different investment types and participate in an online stock market simulation game. Students will use a given scenario to create an investment portfolio.

Essential Question(s)

Is saving money important? What is the best way to save and invest for the future?



Students engage in a Four Corners activity related to the importance of saving money and assessing whether they are savers or spenders.


Students read about different types of investments and complete a Frayer Model to investigate a financial word.


Student groups play a simulation game to understand the basics of stock market trading.


Student groups create an investment portfolio and present their investment choices to the class.


Students’ Frayer Models, participation in the stock market game, and investment portfolios serve as assessments for this lesson.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Four Corners Signs (attached, one copy)

  • Types of Investments Reading (attached, one per student)

  • Frayer Model handout (attached, one per student)

  • Financial Portfolio graphic organizer (attached, one per student)

  • Student devices with Internet access


Display slides 3 and 4 of the attached Lesson Slides. Introduce the lesson and explain that the topic is about saving money. Share the essential questions and the lesson objective.

Display slide 5. Have students engage in a Four Corners activity by asking them to think about the statement that appears on the slide: “Money looks better in the bank than in your closet. They are to decide to what degree they agree or disagree with this statement. Tell students to move next to the sign that best expresses their opinion about this statement.

Once students have chosen the sign that best expresses their opinion, have the students who are gathered at the same sign discuss their reasoning with each other. Ask each of the four groups to appoint a spokesperson to share the group’s reasoning with the rest of the class.

Ask students to return to their seats and pass out one sticky note to each student. Display slide 6 and reproduce the question (“How often do you save money?”) and columns (1. “Regularly, like once a month”; 2. “Sometimes, when I think about it”; 3) “I’m not saving right now”) on a projector or whiteboard space per the Sticky Bars strategy. Ask students to write their names on their sticky notes and then consider the question. Students vote by placing their sticky notes in the appropriate column on the board.

After all students have come up to the board and voted, discuss the overall results of the Sticky Bar survey. Call on students to make comments about what they observe from the way the sticky notes are arranged. What is the class trend for saving? Ask the class if they are more regular savers or if they have not started saving money just yet. Ask how high a priority it is for those who do save.


Transition to the next activity by telling students that one way to save money is by investing your money where it will grow and accumulate over time. Pass out copies of the Types of Investments Reading. Ask students to read and annotate the handout using the Stop and Jot strategy, which is detailed on slide 7.

After everyone has read the article, ask students to share and compare their thoughts and summaries from the margins with a partner. After students have had a chance to share with partners, ask a few pairs to share their thoughts and summaries with the whole class. Conclude the discussion by asking the class if their opinion about saving and investing has changed in any way.

Display slide 8. Pass out copies of the Frayer Model handout and assign each student a number from 1-10. Students should create a Frayer Model using the vocabulary word that corresponds with the number they received. Once students know which vocabulary word they will be working with, move to slide 9 and discuss the example of a completed Frayer Model.

Allow time for students to complete the model on their own or working with the other students assigned to the same word. Give them the option to use the Internet or other resources as a reference.

Ask groups to present their completed Frayer Models to the class to highlight and deepen students’ understanding of the financial words from the reading.


To give students the opportunity to build a better understanding of how to make investments, arrange for them to play an online stock market game. Students can perform individually, as teams, or by joining a league. Value Stock Guide’s Investing for Beginners page provides links to games such as the Wall Street Survivor Stock Market Game and the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game.

Depending on which simulation you choose, students can play a game that spans over several weeks or one that is condensed into 2-3 class periods. It is important to choose a simulation game that fits with students' access to Internet-connected devices as well as the length of time you want to devote.


90 Minute(s)

Once students have a basic understanding of the stock market and other investment choices, give them the opportunity to extend their learning by creating their own investment portfolio.

Assign students to groups of three. Display slide 10 and present the scenario on the slide. Invite groups to use the money they have been given to create an investment portfolio, with several forms of financial securities. Pass out a copy of the Financial Portfolio graphic organizer to each student. Tell students that they each will be responsible for filling out their own graphic organizer based upon the group’s decisions. Display slide 11 for the directions. Student groups need to explain their reasoning for choosing the types of financial securities they did. They should explain the cost, benefit, and risk of each type of investment.

Student groups can create a mini-poster or Google Slides presentation to share the basics of their portfolio. Allow time for each group to present their portfolio and their rationale for the investment choices they made. Have all students turn in their graphic organizers at the end of the presentation for assessment. This activity needs one class period for research and a second class period for presentations.


The Frayer Model, participation in the stock market game, the financial portfolio graphic organizer, and the final portfolio presentation can all be used as assessments.