Grade 4 Plays the Stock Market

Grade 4 students will get a glimpse of Wall Street as they try their hand (and their luck) in a stock market simulator game this month. Designed to introduce students to strategic thinking and financial literacy, the game, which students will play over the next three months, has shown to improve academic performance, financial knowledge, and students’ understanding of saving and investing habits.
The project will kickoff with a talk given by Ellis parent Michael Haggerty who has a background as a financial analyst. Students will then use Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, and other financial websites to research basic information about companies and build a portfolio. In addition to online research, they will look for companies at home by exploring their own closets and cabinets for brand ideas.

After students complete the research phase, they will pitch the companies they have researched to their groups and use software to purchase and follow their investments. Using the website and iPad app created by the Stock Market Game (SMG)—a program of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)—students will will act as stock pickers as they use the actual movement of the market to buy and sell, and build a fundamental understanding of investing while developing real-world skills and practice in mathematics, language arts, economics, social studies, and technology.

The Class of 2026 will manage three fund types: a passive investment fund that will act as a benchmark, a growth fund , and a value fund. The class will be challenged to select their own stocks, create  profiles of them, and merge their findings together into a group portfolio.

Originally piloted as an extracurricular activity by Grade 4 Teacher Patrick Fagersten, he eventually decided to build the game into his mathematics and technology curriculum because of the outcomes he witnessed in students. While not all students are financial bulls when it comes to investing, by turning the lesson into a game, students learn in a relatable and fun way while still accessing the same information that national and international brokerage firms use everyday.

Mr. Fagersten states, “the goal is to not only improve students’ math and tech skills but to generate awareness around the many career options within the finance industry and to have students begin exploring financial literacy at a young age. Ultimately, this allows them to make more informed decisions as young adults when they begin their careers and start the process of investing for their futures.”