Need advice on whether to go with stocks, bonds, or mutual funds? Look no further than the classrooms at Martha Jones School.
Students in the school’s fifth grade took part in national The Stock Market Game to show what kind of savvy investors they could be. Students worked in teams, given $150,000 in simulated cash, and told to invest in whatever company they wanted, from small start-ups to large corporations like Apple and Disney. This followed 10 weeks of lessons on the stock market and how it works. The Security Industries and Financial Markets Association sponsors the program.
“The trades are done in real time,” said fifth-grade teacher Robbie Bartlett. “They [the students] can go to CNN to see how their stocks are doing.”
In addition to the Stock Market Game, students were also invited to submit essays on how they would apply their investing skills to a nonprofit of their choice. Eight students elected to do this, and fifth-grader Eve Lucas was recognized for her essay at a surprise assembly on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Her essay was selected from thousands of entries as the best in Massachusetts and the third best in the nation. The other seven students were also presented certificates marking the work they did with their essays.
“I feel amazing,” she exclaimed after winning the awards.
Lucas’ essay detailed how she would make investments on behalf of the Love Uganda Foundation, which helps provide food and other services to children in need. She reacted with surprise and excitement as she realized that her essay had been the one chosen.
“The hardworking saints, otherwise known as the helpers and educators of L.U.F., are amazing people with amazing passions,” Lucas wrote in her essay.
Were she to be the money manager for the foundation, Lucas would put 60 percent into mutual funds, which she said would diversify the portfolio without take the chances involved with stocks. The remaining 40 percent would be divided between bonds, stocks, and cash.
“I went with investments that didn’t take risks,” said Lucas following the ceremony.
Lucas’s essay is very detailed, outlining the reasons for her choices and the benefits. She chose the non-profit herself, based on the work it does and how it helps children who have nothing.
“That’s just who she is,” said Lisa, Eve’s mother. “She’s the kindest.”
Mark Goguen, the instructional technology coach for the Westwood Schools, started the Stock Market Game in 2010 while teaching in Franklin, and brought it to Westwood in 2012. The town has taken home honors on five different occasions, and sessions are held in the fall and spring. Students aren’t told what companies to invest in, and the emphasis is placed on taking some chances.
“We teach them to look at trends, look at the stock history,” said Goguen.
Goguen added that students are taught about long and short-term investments. He said some would look at stocks that plummeted in value, buying shares while they were cheap, knowing the stock would eventually go back up.
Bartlett added that making this a game helps the students, and they get more out of it. Deciding what company to pick out of the hundreds available was sometimes a challenge.
“The ones that won take the risks, but they can lose a lot,” said Bartlett. “Some kids spend it all at once and some hold back.”
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