SPARTA, NJ- Apparently it is never too early to start thinking about the stock market.  Four fourth grade Helen Morgan students did more than read about it, they competed and won the north elementary division on The Stock Market Game.  The Helen Morgan team finished at the top of 120 teams.

Sparta enrichment teacher Morgan Bleakley’s students Tyler Harms, Jack WIttenmeier, Christian Goncalves and Rowan Mendel received their award in a ceremony held by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. 

The students participated in the game that ran from September through April.  It is a project-based leaning activity that fulfills curricular requirements and “provides real world opportunities to practice 21st century skills in critical thinking, collaboration and communication” according to Blealkey. 

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“We learned how to see if the stocks were a good choice to make,” Wittenmeier said. “We learned how to buy, sell, and short sell stocks. The stocks that we bought over our journey were Tesla,  Apple, Lowe’s, Amazon and Gilead Sciences, Inc.”

In the game the students are challenged to create a successful portfolio with a virtual $100,000 to invest.  The work in teams of two to five students, gathering information, news and data about potential investments.  The Helen Morgan team finished with a total equity of $114,154.48.

“Students utilize a broad range of informational texts and evaluate current events as an integral part of the Stock Market Game experience,” Bleakley said. 

The game mimics closely the experience of playing the stock market.  They buy and sell existing stocks, bonds and mutual funds, taking into consideration the risks, economic conditions and political factors.  They learned many facets of the capital markets. 

Bleakley said an independent study by Learning Point Associates found that students who participated in the Stock Market Game “scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests” than non-participating peers.  Additionally, “teachers found the game motivated the participants to better plan for their future and engage in financial planning, research and use of investment products and services.”

The students’ investment acumen is evident in the way they discuss the experience. 

“We had a slight problem with the stock Tesla. We had to sell it about 3/4 of the way there, because it was tanking [going down], Harms said. “After that, we short-sold it because we thought it was going down even more. After we short-covered it, we bought it again. When we bought it again, it started to go up a lot.”

This was Harms second year participating in the game.

“We worked hard, concentrated and had fun,” Goncalves said.

“We had a spectacular experience,” Mendel said. “We are so glad we had the chance to attend this outstanding activity. We learned about the stock market and investing.”