Popular Stock Market Game Simulation Helps Students Learn about Investing

Throughout April, we are celebrating Financial Capability Month by featuring a variety of financial education programs and resources that you can put to use in your classroom right away. The 29th in this series focuses on the SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite programs.

Project-based learning may be new to some educators, but over 16 million student users of the Stock Market Game have been taking this approach since the program launched over 35 years. Back when it got started, the Stock Market Game required students to make trades using paper, pencil, and snail mail. Nowadays, teams can make trades anywhere they have internet connection. There’s even an easy-to-use app (iOS, Android).

The basic premise of the Stock Market Game has stood the test of time, however. Students in grades 4-12 form teams and invest a hypothetical $100,000. Over the course of the game, students learn about investing by making simulated trades at actual market prices. They conduct research and learn how investing works. Meanwhile, teachers do not need to be investing gurus to run the program. The Teacher Support Center provides teachers with program support, lessons, and access to their student’s progress. There is also a series of four videos produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that compliment the program.

Due to generous funding, the SIFMA Foundation is able to offer the Stock Market Game at no cost to all participating Pennsylvania schools! Teams are divided into levels and regions:

  • Three levels of competitive play: elementary (grades 4-5), middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12).
  • Six regional divisions: Erie/Western Division, Pittsburgh/Southwestern Division, State College/Central Division, Lancaster/Amish Country Division, Wilkes Barre/Scranton Division, and Lehigh Valley/Philadelphia Division

Registered Stock Market Game users can also participate in the InvestWrite – an essay competition. Teachers may submit up to 10 entries into the national competition which has some outstanding prizes. Take a look at the most recent (Spring 2018) essay prompts below. Not only do they really get kids thinking, they also connect to careers – a topic of great interest to many students.

Background

You’ve researched many companies during your Stock Market Game classroom experience and have learned what makes them financially successful, such as great products and services, an excellent investment portfolio, and staying on top through innovation. Many things also make a company a great place to work, like treating employees well, having a great brand or culture, and supporting the community.

Question

What company would be a great place for you to work someday and why? What advice would you give their current Investment Manager on investing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds for the best financial results, while also protecting from risk, so the company is still successful by the time you’re ready to work there? What global or economic events could impact the company in the next 5-10 years and what changes in expenditures or investments could the company make to thrive and survive?

Disclaimer: Resources included on the Making Cents blog have been reviewed by Pennsylvania educators and deemed worthwhile for classroom or professional use. Inclusion does not indicate endorsement by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Penn State University.

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