Each year, students participate in a virtual stock exchange sponsored by the Wall Street Journal to learn how the market works.
Teacher Kris Hizal believes this project is very important in teaching seniors how to become successful adults, as well as learning valuable course material.
“The official title of the course is AP Government and Economics.” He said. “…And while a lot of economics is embedded in the lessons we do on things, such as public policy and the federal reserve, the stock market is an important aspect of that. Stocks are tied to personal finance which I believe is extremely important.
Hizal believes the project is even more important due to recent developments in the American economy.
“Your retirement is going to be tied to the stock market whether you like it or not,” he said. “So, it’s important to understand the volatility of the market. For some people, things will make sense and they will be able to pick investments quickly and others will realize that maybe they’ll want to pay someone else to handle their investment because they would use it all.”
The simulation is set up as a miniature exchange on Marketwatch.com which is modeled after the real markets, players are ranked by their net worth as prices rise and fall in the real market.
Hizal believes the ranking, and the competition derived from it is why so many students become infatuated with the stock project.
“ I think it’s just the natural competiveness that people have”, he said. “If you see a list with 160 names on it, you don’t want to be number 160. So, students will start to get up early to they can research and buy companies, I’ll see them walking around with their phones all day, I’ll hear from other teachers ‘you started the stocks didn’t you?’ because students will go into their classes and say ‘can I use your computer just for a moment I need to check my stocks.”
For Tanner Bolin, this behavior is not uncommon. Currently leading the simulation in the number of trades made, he believes the stock project has taken over his life.
“I know the stock project has taken over my life because I wake up in the morning, I do my stocks, and I go back to sleep,” he said.” … On Friday, I lost a lot of money so I had a really bad day, but today I made a lot of money and I’m in a good mood so basically I base my moods off of how my stocks are doing in the morning.”
Bolin believes that the real life applications of the stock market and the competitive aspect allow him to really enjoy learning about to economy.
“This is definitely something I see myself continuing to do,” he said. “I’ve been taking to my dad about investments we can make and everything, I really enjoy stocks.”