Financial Literacy Labs are preparing high school students across the country for both college and future careers. One of the best ways to teach students about finance and stocks is through edutainment. To help you get started, we’ve created a stock game and lesson plan (below) and compiled a list of financial vocabulary that your students should know.
If you want to start a program at your school, check out this post on how you can do it on a budget (hint: it’s cheaper than you think!).
If you are currently raising (or thinking about raising) money for a financial literacy lab, check out this post on grants to fund technology. Here are seven tips when raising money, and some creative things schools do while fundraising.
Lesson Plan: The Stock Market Game
Teach students how the stock market works, the importance of diversifying portfolios, and how the state of the world affects its outlook (for example, a new President is elected, or there is a natural disaster or a terrorist attack).
Rationale and Preparation
The stock market isn’t a guessing game. Many factors contribute to why stock prices go up or go down. The state of the world has a significant impact on this. Investing money in the market takes more than just financial knowledge: it takes a greater understanding of how news affects the world.
Consider this: Hurricane season has hit the East Coast, and a Category 5 storm has just landed; what does that have to do with the stock market? Answer: A whole lot! Companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot will typically see their stock prices go up as people spend more to make repairs to their homes; the same is true of hotel stocks, which have an increase of traffic due to people being without a home. Retail stores and chain restaurants might not fair as nicely, as they have to close and repair damage of their own.
In another example, Apple shares are notorious for going up after product announcements. When the iPhone 8 was introduced, the stock increased by 9% within two months; when the iPhone 6 was launched, the stock climbed by 12%
Use real-life examples picked from current events to illustrate this with your students. It might be an article about a supply chain issue that causes a slow down in production of a computer part; a big budget movie doing poorer than expected on opening weekend; an upcoming press conference to announce a new product; new legislation that negatively affects the healthcare industry; or a CEO who has said something completely insane on social media.
To some up: What causes volatile changes in stock price? Some of the most common reasons a company's stock will slide up or down:
The company earns more (or less) than expected for the quarter
A company controversy
A product announcement
Political change (such as a new President, a shift in the party that controls the House or Senate, etc.)
Have your students find one article about a current event that they believe will affect the markets (or one particular stock); have them write a short essay on why they think it affects the market either positively or negatively, and list 3 to 5 stocks that will be as a result.
The Stock Challenge Game
Students have $20,000 in imaginary virtual money. Their goal: use news to determine the best stocks to buy and sell. Using the following Google Sheet, students will keep track of the shares they buy and sell. To buy or sell any stock, they must include a $10 transaction fee. They can buy and sell as many shares as they want, but must always include the transaction fee--that means before they sell any stock, they need to have made at least $20 to break even, or they are selling at a loss.
Before buying or selling any stock, they must write a short narrative (4 to 6 sentences) about why they have decided to make the transaction. Decisions should never be made based on impulse, but if they like a certain brand (such as Apple or McDonald’s) then encourage them to find news that supports a positive outlook in the company.
The game is best played over the course of several weeks. Students should spend at least 30 minutes a week reviewing their portfolio and decide if they should buy or sell anything.
And remember to tell them the most important rule of stocks: buy low, sell high and have fun!
Templates to Help You Get Started
Rise Vision has created 100s of digital signage templates to help inform and teach your students. You can use the financial lab templates below with this lesson.
Extra Financial Literacy Resources
The following are extra resources you can use for teaching, or assign students to read: