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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

# The Stock Market Game

How It Works

This unit provides five lessons for conducting a modified stock market game in your classroom. The lessons are titled: Determining Stock Market Criteria, Creating a Portfolio, Graphing Stocks, Graphing Stocks With A Spreadsheet, and Stock Statistics

In Determining Stock Market Criteria, students learn about the concept of stocks and investment and the criteria for selecting of stocks. In Creating a Portfolio, students are shown how to keep track of the progress of their investments. In the two graphing lessons, students use both drawing application and spreadsheet application to create, read, and interpret stock progress on graphs. The Stock Statistics lessons provides opportunities for the students to find the range, mean, high, low, and use spreadsheet formulas for finding statistical information about their investments.

How it works:
In this unit, the teacher, using an LCD display projector, shows the class how to find stock reports, quotes, and news article related to stocks on the Internet. He/she asks students what kind of information would be important in ascertaining whether or not a company would be a good investment choice. Using available articles related to the stock, students are asked what information would be useful in determining whether the company in question would be a viable investment, and what current events might affect the stock’s performance. After formulating these criteria, the information is added to a semantic web. Additional criteria for discussion might include sector, industry, number of employees, what the company manufactures or sells, net income, revenues, and who else invests in this company. Students are then shown how to track their stocks using a portfolio as used on American Online in their Personal Finance section. Portfolios for each cooperative learning group are set up. The students track the progress of their stocks using their portfolio and by keeping a daily narrative journal with a word processing application such as Student Writing Center. Next students use a drawing application and a spreadsheet to create graphs showing the progress of their stocks and finally use a spreadsheet, as illustrated via an LCD display projector by the teacher, to calculate statistical data related to their stocks.

Evaluation:
The students are evaluated on participation and their ability to find locations on the Internet for researching stocks. The teacher evaluates the quality of the semantic web and database created as well as the criteria established. In addition, students will be evaluated on their success in setting up a group portfolio, interpreting daily changes in their portfolio, and on writing about the progress of their investments in narrative form in their journal. The successful creation of the students’ graphs and spreadsheets and the ability to use spreadsheet formulas to interpret statistical data will also be used in the evaluation of the students' mastery of skills and concepts in this unit.  Students will also be evaluated on their ability to work cooperatively in groups and in the presentation of the information they find.

Overall value:
In cooperative learning groups, students read and analyze investment reports, graphs, news articles, and company overviews on the Web for two different stocks. From the data, they synthesize the information and add to their list of criteria to be used in selecting stocks for investment. The students produce a computer-generated semantic web and/ or database with criteria or focusing questions to be used when selecting a stock for investment. (For lower grades, 5-6, the teacher creates a database based on the semantic map that the students make.) The students also create a group portfolio and journal to track their stocks, create and interpret graphs and spreadsheets, and use spreadsheet formulas to calculate statistical data.

Standards:
English Language Arts: students read and understand informational materials, produce an informative report, participate in group meetings, prepare and deliver an oral/written presentation, restate or summarize information, and use a range of appropriate strategies, such as providing facts and details and describing or analyzing the subject.
Mathematics: students predict results and analyze data, read and interpret information from a graph, describe and compare quantities, collect and organize data to answer a question, and make statements and draw conclusions based on data.
Social Studies: students define basic economic concepts such as supply and demand, markets, opportunity costs, resources, productivity, and economic growth.
Applied Learning: students apply academic knowledge to solve practical problems, integrate writing and drawing skills with computer technology, identify a problem and use motivation and logical skills to solve it in individual and group settings, and communicate effectively through written and verbal language.

Tips for teachers:
If possible, a parent or someone familiar with the stock market might speak to the students about investment options.  Teachers in New York City can also plan a trip to the New York Stock Exchange.

Carolyn Hornik has been a New York City public school teacher for twenty five years (12 years as a classroom teacher in third, fourth, and fifth grades and 13 years as a technology coordinator.) She teaches in-service courses for the New York City Board of Education After School Professional Development Program and on-line courses for new teachers through Teachers Network.

Estimated Class Periods To Complete: 10 or more

Subject: English, Social Studies