Smart investments require a keen awareness of economics and business, and most of us are more than happy to leave it to financial professionals.
For Shelly Prettyman’s fifth-grade class at Arcadia Elementary, however, business investments are a favorite topic, and her students are eager to try their hand by participating in the Stock Market Game. One of her teams did so well that it earned them a runner up place.
The Stock Market Game is a statewide competition administered by the Utah Office of State Treasurer for students in grades 4 through 12. Each team is given a dollar amount to buy, sell, trade, and invest in U.S. companies that trade on Wall Street over a 10-week period. The highest earning ‘investors’ are declared winners in their age category.
“My classes started playing about four years ago and we have come very close to being in the top 3 teams in our division, but have not quite made it this far in the past,” Prettyman said.
While she does teach the students the basics of business and the stock market, the task of researching and comparing companies is a team decision. They decide where to invest and how much money will be spent all on their own.
Saul Borceguin, Francisco Vargas, and Mason Graham methodically selected where to invest and ultimately ended up having the second best score in the state in their division.
“I wanted to purchase stocks in the cinema because a lot of people go to the movies, but my team didn’t agree with that purchase so we discussed other ideas,” said student Francisco Vargas. “We bought shares in Amazon, FedEx, Game Stop, AT&T, and Tesla.”
“This year all eight of my teams placed in the top 30 of 100 teams in our division, and it was a close run right to the fight to the finish,” Prettyman said.
Each student from the winning team received a plaque inscribed with their name and a $50 savings certificate from Utah Education Savings Plan. But the team is stopping there; they’re already looking forward to the spring.
“The market seems to be going toward a bear market, so the spring game might look completely different,” Vargas said.