By: Alexander Coolidge
October 4, 2010
Students in kindergarten through 12th grade are signing up this fall to compete in a battle to prove who is the most financially savvy.
The annual Stock Market Game held by the University of Cincinnati's Economics Center for Education & Research kicks off Oct. 11. So far, 750 teams of three to five students from all over Southwest Ohio have signed up to compete.
The competition is designed to promote financial literacy and starts student teams with an imaginary $100,000 to invest in stocks and mutual funds from the New York, Nasdaq and American exchanges.
"The biggest benefit is it encourages active thinking about the world we live in," said John Morris, education director of the center.
Teams create their portfolios using a live trading simulation and students must research and evaluate stocks, then make decisions based on what they've learned. They earn interest on cash balances, but also pay a commission on all trades as well as interest if buying on margin.
Students learn why certain stock prices go up or down as wel as how the broader market and the economy behave.
UC organizers encourage math, social studies and other teachers to sign their classes up for the competition because it the interactive competition develops other skills. The exercise is also designed to build leadership, team-building, organization and negotiating skills as teams vie to win.
Cash prizes of $150, $75 and $50 are awarded to first, second and third place winners for each of the elementary, middle and high school divisions. After the current 10-week competition ends in mid December, a second game runs mid February to late April.
The six top teams from the three divisions will then compete in a Portfolio Challenge in late April, where the teams present to a panel of local financial experts their financial strategy. The two top winning teams will nab a free trip to visit an out-of-state investment firm.
While it might seem a little unfair pitting elementary school students against older peers in the final competition, last spring both elementary teams won.
Teaching tools and curriculum guides for interested teachers are available online. To register for or ask questions about the game, please contact Kim Moon at 513-556-8545, or register directly at www.smgohio.org.