Need some advice on whether to go for stocks, bonds, or mutual funds? Look no further than the Martha Jones School classrooms.
Fifth grade students at the school participated in the national stock market game to show what savvy investors they can be. The students worked in teams, received $ 150,000 in simulated money, and said to invest in any business they wanted, from small startups to large companies like Apple and Disney. This was followed by 10 weeks of classes on the stock market and how it works. The Association of Security Industries and Financial Markets sponsors the program.
“The trades are done in real time,” said Robbie Bartlett, fifth grade teacher. “You [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 investment skills to a nonprofit of their choice. Eight students voted, and fifth grader Eve Lucas received an award for her essay at a surprise meeting on Tuesday, February 27th. Her essay was selected as the best in Massachusetts and third best in the country from among thousands of submissions. The other seven students also received certificates attesting to their work with their essays.
“I feel great,” she exclaimed after winning the awards.
Lucas’ essay describes how she would invest on behalf of the Love Uganda Foundation, which helps provide food and other services to children in need. She was surprised and excited when she realized that her essay was the chosen one.
“The hardworking saints, also known as LUF helpers and educators, are amazing people with amazing passions,” wrote Lucas in her essay.
If she were the foundation’s asset manager, Lucas would invest 60 percent in mutual funds that would diversify the portfolio without taking the risks associated with stocks. The remaining 40 percent is split between bonds, stocks and cash.
“I chose investments that didn’t take any chances,” said Lucas after the ceremony.
Lucas’ essay is very detailed and outlines the reasons for their choices and the benefits. She chose the nonprofit herself based on the work she does and how she helps children who have nothing.
“She just is,” said Lisa, Eve’s mother. “She is the nicest.”
Westwood Schools Educational Technology Trainer Mark Goguen started the Stock Market Game while teaching at Franklin in 2010 and brought it to Westwood in 2012. The city has been honored on five separate occasions and the meetings take place in the fall and spring. Students are not told which companies to invest in and the focus is on taking risks.
“We teach them to look at trends, to look at stock history,” said Goguen.
Goguen added that students are taught about long-term and short-term investments. He said some would look at stocks that have plummeted in value and buy stocks while they are cheap, knowing that the stock would eventually go up again.
Bartlett added that it helps students make this a game and they can get more out of it. Deciding which company to choose from among the hundreds was a challenge at times.
“Those who win take the risk, but they can lose a lot,” said Bartlett. “Some kids spend it all at once and some hold back.”