This might be the best thematic series of assignments I've ever put together. I used my knowledge of urban planning and interest in travel to help design a unit that allows students to explore the world around them and in their own hometown.
This unit includes a student-created places rated system to help them decide where they might visit or want to live. Next is a template and example for a 10-slide travel presentation. Then, students map their own region with a conceptual map, along with paragraphs explaining their choices. After that, there's a ridiculously awesome home-buying websearch that teachers will enjoy as much as students. Finally, the unit ends with listing your own property short writing assignment.
I used this unit with a basic 12th grade writing class. It could easily be adjusted for advanced-level students who are younger or adults needing some of the life-skills presented. Honestly, with homes being such important purchases and where we live dictating so much in our lives, this unit should be taught to every high school student before they leave and maybe every teacher before they get hired. Creativity, financial literacy, self-assessment, writing, research, fun--it's all here.
If you want the students to do the work and the learning, this is a perfect unit for you to use in an English, writing, Social Studies, Economics, Civics, Business, or Adult Education class. It's real-world without being boring, which is what you've always wanted to achieve. 2-3 weeks of activities and presentations. At this price, that's a sound investment in your future and your sanity. Before you decide to leave town for good, give this unit a shot.
If you need some activities to do with those laptops every student now has, this is perfect. Only the map should be hand-drawn (or at least hand-labeled). Everything else can be filled out right in the Google Doc or created using Google Slides or PowerPoint. Even without computer access, you could use books and real estate flyers, so you're pretty well covered.