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Assigning a Project on the Stock Market: High School Lesson Idea

written by: C.D. Crowder • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 9/6/2013

Teach your students about smart investing, financial responsibility and how to understand the stock market by assigning this project. This is a fun and educational to get high school students engaged.

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    Objective

    NYSE-floor 

    The purpose of the project is to teach high school students the value to investing and using the stock market. This project also teaches important lessons about the economy, mathematics and financial responsibility.

    The basis of this project is to learn about the stock market while investing a specified amount of fake money in certain stocks. Students then study the results and buy and sell as they see fit.

    As a teacher, your job is to guide the students and provide them with the supplies necessary to successfully monitor stock market trends. Teachers must also teach students how to calculate profit and loss on stocks.

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    Required Supplies

    Before starting the project with your high school class, a few supplies are required. First, and most important, are New York Stock Exchange stock quotes. These can be current or old. If you are using older stocks, provide at least two to three months of consecutive or chronological order in order for students to correctly see stock market trends and how the economy affects the stock market. Stock quotes can be found online or in many local newspapers.

    Some teachers prefer to use notebooks while other teachers prefer to use computer programs such as Microsoft Excel to keep up with stocks, changing prices and profits and losses.

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    Learning About Investing

    Teachers must take a few steps before the stock market project actually begins. First of all, teach students how to read stock tables. Explain the meaning of stock symbols and how to read percentage points. Explain the purpose of stocks and how they affect the economy and their daily lives.

    After students understand the basics of the stock market, teach them how to calculate earnings and losses when investing in stocks. Also explain the importance of buying and selling as stock market trends change.

    The Project

    Once students are ready, divide high school students into groups or allow them to work independently. Give each group or student a set amount of fake money to invest. This can range from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Set a time limit for students to study and work with their investments. For best results, allow at least two to three months or longer if possible. Many classes revisit the project once a week during a class period throughout a semester or school year.

    Ask students to invest in multiple stocks at once to prevent students from losing all their money in one stock. Students can then buy and sell throughout the course of the project. Require students to keep detailed notes in a notebook or desired software program for you to review throughout the stock market project.

    Throughout the project, ask students for updates in a class discussion format. This includes discussing which stocks are trending, how this affects the economy and why certain stocks are losing or gaining value. Also discuss which stocks students are investing in and why.

    For an example project and guides to teaching students various aspects of the stock market, see Mr. Nussberger’s Stock Market Project.

    For more on calculating stocks, read How to Measure a Stock’s Volatility.

References