Students in Ms. Cheryl Seay’s financial planning class are tackling the intricacies of the stock market via a virtual program that simulates the practice of saving and investing in the real world. Promoted by Economics Arkansas and developed by the SIFMA Foundation, Melbourne students are competing in “The Stock Market Game,” an online simulation where students trade and manage virtual investment portfolios worth $100,000.
The ultimate goal is to create the best performing portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more in a live trading environment. Carson Fulbright and Jaxon Sanders are currently the leading team in Ms. Seay’s classroom with a total gain of $2,000, followed closely by Wyatt Wilkerson and Sawyer Hoskinds. Carson shared some of his team’s experiences. “We at first bought some cheap stocks like Yield10 Bioscience, Idexx and Eli Lilly that went down. We also invested in a gas company, and that was no good either. But then we bought some big stocks that went up.”
Ms. Seay explained that a lot of the students invested in name-brand companies they recognized, like Tesla, Apple, and Google, before they did a lot of company research. Those stocks were really expensive and went down, making the students realize how important it is to do their research before purchasing stock. However, MHS junior Thomas Lamb was quick to point out that if Ms. Seay had let them make stock purchases on the first day, he would have bought Tesla and would be winning! Ms. Seay laughed, “Yeah, I wanted them to get to know the program first, so they didn’t get to buy stock until the second day. The difference in Tesla stock was $50. They were pretty mad at me about that one!”
To prepare for the game, the class began studying the world of investments and stocks. They studied the top 21 stocks for 2021 and various Arkansas stocks and how well they’ve done in the past. They learned how to trade stocks on the S&P (the 500 top companies), the Dow Jones (the top 30 companies in industry) and on the Nasdaq (a global electronic marketplace). The only restriction the students had was that they couldn’t buy penny stocks, which are less than $3.00.
That’s a lot of information to take in! Thankfully, though, all of this learning has been made more enjoyable with a little competitive spirit! According to Ms. Seay, The Stock Market Game is set up by regions; there are several different regions in Arkansas, divided by the size of a school and the number of teams in a school. Melbourne has 55 teams in its region, with 2-4 people on each team.
The top team in a region wins a cash prize of $125.00. “The students can work on the project in their own time, but it has to be done during actual stock market hours. As part of the requirements, students have to keep a journal of what they bought, why they bought it, what their future plans are, and much, much more.” The winning team will be announced at the regional competition that is scheduled for April 9, 2021.
Currently the Katz are sitting in 10th place! The best part, however, is that students, as they navigate their way through the game, gain much more than an understanding of the stock market. They experience an improvement in math, economics, and personal financial responsibility as well as a greater awareness of current events and global news. This is especially true at Melbourne High. “Some kids are just very financially minded and don’t realize it until they get in this class. I am very pleased with how the game is going and the impact it is having on my students,” Ms. Seay shared.