Five Washington Elementary School sixth-grade students learning the ABCs of free enterprise were recognized May 15 as California state champions in the Stock Market Game, an online finance game that allows players to pick and choose their own stocks using virtual money.
Bringing a fresh perspective to investing, a five-member team from Efrem Lewis’ sixth-grade class walked away with a virtual profit of $13,000 from an initial investment of $100,000, veering away from more traditional tech and health care stocks and focusing on smaller, niche companies such as party supply stores and chain restaurants.
“It’s imperative that students have access to tools that will help them gain financial literacy,” LUSD Superintendent Dr. Gudiel Crosthwaite said. “The Stock Market Game helps students prepare for their future, applying critical thinking and collaborative learning to achieve at the highest level.”
Lewis used the Stock Market Game as a supplement to his classroom mathematics curriculum, enhancing the study of fractions, decimals and logical reasoning with a game that played out in real time. Lewis’ class formed several teams of five to six students each.
Lewis’ students, including the winning team – Aaliyah Jackson, Olivia Valadez, Amaya Padilla, Rebeca Lopez and Dayanara Lopez – had no experience in financial planning. Students not only had to invest wisely but had to work collaboratively through the team members’ divergent views to form a consensus.
“This was a great experience for us because we learned about saving money and not just spending it on things you want,” Padilla said. “I also liked learning new things about my classmates by what they wanted to invest their money into.”
During the six-week game, students spent hours researching publicly owned companies available on the New York Stock Exchange, investing $100,000 of virtual money, monitoring those stocks every week to see how they had fared, then making a decision on how to move forward.
“The Stock Market Game helps students visualize the concept of mathematics,” Lewis said. “Picking stocks is not merely numbers on a page and since it was a competition, all of the students wanted to show they could invest their time and money wisely. Honestly, the students did better than I did, and they won’t let me forget it.”
The Stock Market Game is a product of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and seeks to prepare students from grades four to 12 for financially independent futures. Every year, more than 600,000 students in 50 states participate in the online competition.