For two months this winter, Junior High math students took part in a lively stock market simulation game designed to familiarize the players with basic investment skills.
Each student created a mock account on the website MarketWatch, in which they were given a pretend $100,000 to invest in companies of their choice. The players competed to see who could increase the value of their account the most. The project began on January 26th and ended on March 23rd.
Junior High Math Teacher, Catherine Tung, explained, “I wanted students to have a better understanding of the stock market, and a basic kind of financial knowledge of the economy. It seems like the students really do have a better understanding, pretty much all of them.”
Oona Lee, Junior High 8th grader, said that the project “taught us about real world experiences, which I thought was really cool, because most schools don’t get to do that. It sort of gave us a little intro into what life out there is like.”
The project proved engrossing to many of the players, who frequently checked their accounts and daily rankings, sometimes several times a day. Tung commented, “I know in some classes where they had Chromebooks, people were checking the stocks probably when they shouldn’t have.”
Junior High science teacher Donna Youngstrom also noted that the project had created a distraction, or a “temptation,” as she put it.
The fervor created by the game seemed to confirm Sequoyah’s Director of Curriculum Marc Alongi’s contention that “you need real applications to get excited about the math you’re learning.” Some of the game’s most popular stocks were Apple, Amazon, Boeing, Electronic Arts, and Netflix.
Ultimately, the competition was won by 8th-grader Jane Avery, who increased her account by $12,800. Regarding her performance, Avery said, “There was a large element of chance in my picks, but I feel like if you do your homework, you can take out some of the risk.”
As for future competitions, Tung explained, “I definitely want to do more projects. If students are excited about something, I want to help them figure out how we can do it.”