The online Stock Market Game for students is a great way to introduce young people to some economic principles in a fun way.
This game is played in teams that can be comprised of students in a class, from a homeschool group or even an after-school group like 4-H. And it can be played in countries all over the world.
As I have only accessed it as a Tennessean in the USA, the exact details I share below may be a little different in your area, but I know that the general format is the same globally.
There are 2 games played every year – fall and spring. Our fall game started on 3rd September, but you can join late. There is a small fee per team ($10 for us). Grades 4 and up are eligible to participate.
Students are given a virtual amount of $100 000 to invest over about 3 months. They buy stocks they believe will make them the most money and then carefully watch the prices of the stocks in their portfolio to see if there is perhaps reason to sell.
The game mirrors reality as closely as possible with the stock prices being the real end-of-day ones on the American exchanges. Students can only trade during regular trading hours and they have to pay brokers’ fees on each transaction.
Every week a leader board is published with the total value of teams’ portfolios which allows students to see how they stack up to other teams in their area.
What will students learn from the Stock Market Game?
They should like basic terms like bear and bull, index, broker, portfolio, stock, dividend. Older students can also be introduced to P/E ratio, short selling etc. They should learn about investments and risk. They should learn what factors can affect the price of shares. (Nothing like holding stock in a travel related industry when a terrorist attack occurs to teach students that!) And as all this learning is done within the context of a game, they will learn effortlessly.
Students who are enrolled in the Stock Market Game can also enter the Investwrite Essay contest. There are different prompts based on age and these get students to really think about the world of investment – particularly as it relates to the Stock Market. There are prizes for students and teachers at the National level (my son managed to snag one in 10th grade) and recognition and trophies at lower levels (one of my students last year was first in our State).
I have incorporated the Stock Market Game into a middle school economics class I teach, and I have also used it for my own children when they have done Economics for a high school credit. I have watched as the students have learned in a hands-on way what this is all about. And now I am watching as my own children who have graduated school are now starting to play the ‘real’ game. They are not jumping into it, but staying with industries they know and with companies they have researched. They aren’t “putting all their eggs in one basket” but buying mutual funds or a number of different stocks. And they are in it for the long haul – if nothing else the game taught them short term investing is very risky!
If you teach groups of students, I strongly encourage you to take a look at how you could incorporate the Stock Market Game into your lessons. You can find many resources to teach kids about the stock market and the game itself has a large number of downloadable lessons available for teachers.
If you have students or children who have played it, what did they think of it? What did they learn? Let us know in the comments.