Posted on

Stock Market Game Lesson Plans Virginia SOL

Stock Market Game Logo

Stock Market Game Lesson Plans Virginia SOL

The Stock Market Game is sponsored by the Virgina Council on Economic Education. As someone who has won district twice in Virginia for the Stock Market Game I wanted to share some resources I use with my students.

The Stock Market Game is reserved for my Senior Government classes. They do not have a state-test to take and it is easier to plan the time it takes to set-up and play. The Stock Market Game has a cost associated with it. For the past five years I have always found the money by applying for various grants particularly through Bayport Credit Union: Bayport Credit Union Grant.

To set-up the Stock Market Game I plan a curriculum that teaches students the basics of the game, how to read financial information, how to compare stocks, and how to search for stocks.

1. Stock Market Game Introduction Activities
The first activity is an outline of key vocabulary terms, what the stock market is etc. I also explain to students WHY we are doing this and how to win. I use a KWL Chart, notes, reading, and videos:

KWL Chart: Students create a 3-column sheet. The Topic is the Stock Market. Students fill in what they know and what they want to know about it. They will fill in the “L” column with what they learned about the Stock Market after the game is over.

SMG Introduction Notes : Introduction note sheet students fill in.

SMG Introduction Powerpoint: Introduction powerpoint in the Stock Market and the Stock Market Game.

Business and Investment in Market Economy Reading : Reading activity with questions for students to answer. I normally create a classroom set. We read it in class.

Stock Market Video(Youtube) and Stock Market Video Questions :  I’ve tried finding various stock market videos that give a good generally outline of how it works. The best I have found is from the 1950s/1960s which, as reflective of the times, comes across as sexist and lacks diversity. I’ve included it but if someone knows of a better video please let me know.

2. Quiz:
After the introduction is complete I normally give the students a quiz over the information. Either I make the quiz-up or I use a quiz given by the Stock Market Game. Note: These quizzes may be out of date.

Stock Market Rules Quiz : Quiz over stock market and stock market game rules.

Stock Market Rules Quiz Answers  : Answers of above quiz.

3. Stock Market Game Skills:
The next activities involve learning how to read stock information and how to search for it. I encourage students to use NYSE , NASADAQ ,or Google Finance to search for stock market information.

Jim’s Birthday Present Activity : I use this as a review of the above information. They brainstorm companies in bold. These will be used later on.

How to Interpret Stock Data from Internet:  A handout with important stock terms. Students read the terms, discuss the terms and then fill in an example below using the stocks they brainstormed. Note: You may need to make modifications of this handout to reflect what is actually displayed on the stock page.

Stock Market Newspaper and Internet Analysis : A handout that walks students how to read financial information on a newspaper and on the internet. They should focus on the stocks they brainedstormed. Note: You may need to make modifications of this handout to reflect what is actually displayed on the stock page.

4. Stock Market Game Skill Practice:
When students are finished analyzing stocks. I give them their research sheets. Student’s will be divided into teams and will need to take on different roles. In these activities students are to practice their roles. They complete worksheets using the stocks the brainstormed. Depending on how much time you have you can assign all of them, combine them together, or assign a couple on each page. When students are done you could discuss which stocks they think will go up or down depending on their data.

Stock Market Game Roles : Description of team roles.

Technical Economic Research Coordinator : Quantitative Research Role (looking at numbers)

Basic Economic Research Coordinator : Qualitative Research Role (looking for news)

Sector Industry Worksheet : This worksheet can be done at the end of class or at the start of next class. It will introduce students to sector industries. Students can place their brainstormed stocks in the right sector and then conduct research and add additional stocks into the different sectors.

5a. Assigning Teams and Picking a Stock Market Game Name:
The final part before the game begins is to have students select their team name and assign roles of: Director, Technical, and Basic. If the group has 4 students I usually give another technical research sheet. I inform students that roles will rotate every two weeks.

Choosing a SMG Name Powerpoint: Powerpoint on creating a name

I normally assign students into teams of 3-4 individuals. Each class usually has about 8 teams. Each team gets a folder. Taped to the inside of the folder are their names and their team’s Stock Market Game password. Inside that folder is the following:

Stock Market Game Directions :An outline of the basic directions of the game. Note: these directions may have changed.

Director Record of Transactions: Director Role (completes a record of transactions of each day)

Technical Economic Research Coordinator : Quantitative Research Role (looking at numbers)

Basic Economic Research Coordinator : Qualitative Research Role (looking for news).

Note: If you are familiar with Google Docs you might be able to set-up/have students use Google Docs to enter their information.

5b. Create Name
To build their team they read over the Team Guidelines sheet and come-up with a name:

Team Building Guidelines : Guidelines for building a team.

5c. Logo Creation:
Once they have their name and I have approved it they create a logo and write their names on their folder.

5d: Consensus Chart
Upon completion of their name and logo I have each person in the group complete a consensus chart. Student’s grade each other using the following rubric.
4 person consensus chart :
Rubric for students to grade each other.

6: Running the Stock Market Game and Grading

I usually run the stock market game in my class during school hours. I teach for about half the period and then let the students play the game. I try for having the students play the game at least twice a week. I do not get involved in what they are investing in. I let the students succeed or fail on their own. After all this is a learning activity. I aim to have students work on their stocks either on Monday or Friday of the week.

Grading: Their Stock Market Game grade is based on students grading themselves using the Consensus Sheet. I take an average of the grades. I also assign them an individual participation grade as well.

Sometimes I play Bloomberg Business while they are working.  I also allow students to use their phones as students will download Stock Market Apps.

7. Other Activities

Warren Buffet Lesson Plan: A brief mini lesson plan on Warren Buffet. Student’s are introduced to Warren Buffet and why he is important. Student’s are encourage to try to invest in one of his companies OR a company he has invested in.

Investwrite: Students write an essay in  response to an investment topic. These are competitive with awards and prizes given.

I also have students do research on a company they would like to work for. They present their findings to the class.

8. Advice

SMG Advice by Seniors : Some advice from my former students on playing the Stock Market Game.

9. Finishing up

At the end of the game, students complete the “Learn” part of their KWL chart. Student’s also write an essay (2-5 paragraphs) on what they learned. Alternatively, you could have them respond to the Invest Write essay without actually submitting it in.

10. Pictures

2014 1st Place in Stock Market Game District
2014 1st Place High School District winners in Stock Market Game. From Left to Right- Ruth Cookson Program Director for Economic Education at Old Dominion University; my students; Me

Stock Market Game News Article announcing Winners:


2011 Middle School Stock Market Game




Posted on

Second Great Decoupling: Separating Students from Schools

Second Great Decoupling: Separating Students from Schools

The purpose of this article is to briefly describe education policy within a historical narrative

Decouple: to cause to become separated, disconnected, or divergent; uncouple.

The first Great Decoupling occurred around the turn of the last century when students were separated from their immediate community and as some argue their family. The origin of which were contained in the kernel of the Industrial Revolution and brought to froth in the post-Civil War business climate. Those original one-room school houses of an agrarian 1830s/1840s past were combined with adjacent and localized school communities in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Indeed, at one point in the US we had over 200,000 school districts (although some were a one-room, one school, school district)! Currently, we have about 15,000 school districts.

This first Great Decoupling was important and necessary as it prepared students to work in a factory setting. The preparation was so realistic it even included a bell which would ultimately mimic the changing of the factory shift. Students would be taught in an assembly-line fashion , expected to conform to rules, not question authority, and above all “produce” for a nascent superpower.  This first Great Decoupling worked very well. It brought the US an increased standard-of-living, introduced waves of immigrants to democratic ideals, fought a Great Depression, won two World Wars, and brought down the Evil Empire.

However, by the mid-1970s cracks begin to appear. The Oil Embargo, cheaper airline travel, cable TV, the opening of China (predicated upon Mao’s death) and other foreign markets begun erode US factory dominance in two ways. Indeed, the movie the Deer Hunter (1977) opens-up with a nondescript yet in-decline Pennsylvania steel town.

  1. The factors helped charge-up globalization which put new competitive pressures on US manufacturing which they were unable to cope. After all, the world is the market NOT just the US.
  2. The new technologies helped people connect with each other from around the globe. This helped established improve relations, particularly those of in an business/economic sense.

In fact, US education had eroded so far in about 10 years that by 1983 the seminal report, A Nation At Risk was produced that identified:

declines in educational performance are in large part the result of disturbing inadequacies in the way the educational process itself is often conducted

The American Education system worked well for over 100 years until with in a 10-year time frame it no longer worked! The educational model that made the US a Superpower no longer fit!

Following the report, policies were put into place that sought “boost” educational achievement by mandating a rigorous testing regime. Various states experimented with “test till your blessed” programs that sought correct the “sins” of an educational model through high-stakes standardized testing policies. The various state programs become crystallized under the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which federally mandated a testing program for all schools receiving government funds

Since NCLB, high-stakes testing regime as taken hold across all states (although some are beginning to reject it). These “test till your blessed” programs will not work because the model they are grafted to is broken. Elected leaders are touting a treatment for a symptom rather than a cure for a disease.

Nevertheless, a cure is not elusive!

Since the Great Recession there has been a trend towards the Second Great Decoupling. The second Great Decoupling relies on the technological advancement and investment in the 1990s which brought high-speed/wireless internet access to large swaths of America and the investments made by millennials in mobile internet via smartphones. Additionally, the Great Recession has placed financial difficulty on states, which have often turned to axing education budgets (education is often the state’s most costly service) in order to achieve a balanced state budget (without raising taxes, of course). School districts have responded in-kind by NOT hiring teachers (which increases class sizes) and NOT increasing pay/benefits (which drives potential candidates away) all the while continually to decree that pre-recession goals still be achieved, mandates met, and budgets maintained. It is truly a feat that in-spite of all odds, American teachers have stepped-up to the plate and delivered.

In the end though, the herculean efforts of American teachers can only do so much against the ruthlessness of economic efficiency and maximization, and perhaps that is for the best. Nothing gets a paradigm shift like a financial crisis.  The second Great Decoupling will result in students being separated from their schools. After staff, capital or “operations”  (such as buildings and buses and the money spent to maintain them) is the second largest expense for most districts. Districts under such economic pressure may decide to sell off school real-estate and in return provide lower-taxes (or at least a slow-down on tax increases) and guarantee online educational access via subsidies for internet access and/or district supplied computers.  One could envision a lively insurance market to insure district computers (loaned out to students) against fraud, theft, and breakage.

In the second Great Decoupling students will be part of a virtual district in a virtual school in a virtual classroom. Teachers may be hired “at-will” with one-year contracts without benefits (mimicking those who are already part of the “freelance” economy) which may result in a further decline of the teacher profession. In such a model, districts may elect to “outsource” teaching to global teacher-temp agencies which may provided better quality services at a lower price. Students may find themselves with a math teacher from Kazakhstan, an English teacher from China, and a history teacher from Peru. One may find American Teachers leaving the US to teacher enclaves/communities in foreign countries with low-standards of living in order to continue to practice their “profession”.

Such a model may result in a win for the students as they experience a truly globalized education, a win for the district as they can provided cheaper services at better quality, and a win for educators who for once may actual be paid what they are worth (though, they may have to leave the country).

Posted on

Creative Commons License for Teachers

Creative Commons License for Teachers

Recently a teacher friend of mine asked me for some files related to a class I used to teach. I responded with an ebullient “Yes!”  As a teacher, I am often reminded that I stand on the shoulders of giants and that it makes no sense to re-invent the wheel when so many talented teachers are willing to give you what amounts to their life’s work…for free. I decided to make my work I gave her a Creative Commons License. It allowed her to use the work but could not sell it.

I am firm believer that knowledge should be free and accessible, however I am not naive, and should you give stuff away you should provide a license. This protects you and the recipient from any future misunderstanding regarding your works.

Much like an Open Source License for software, a Creative Commons License is what I use for published works.