MOORE — When the stock market took a downturn last month, several students at Moore's VISTA Academy were biting their nails.
About 30 students — five junior high teams and five high school teams — are competing in the Security Industry and Financial Markets Association Foundation's Capitol Hill Challenge.
In the fall, the students were given a hypothetical $100,000 to invest in common stocks and mutual funds listed on the New York and American stock exchanges and the Nasdaq. Since then, they've been working to grow their portfolios.
Cheyanne DeLancey, an eighth-grader at VISTA, said much of the year has been spent in computer labs, studying charts and trends in companies such as Walmart and Apple.
“The stocks are very unpredictable,” DeLancey said. “You have to know when to buy and when to sell. It keeps you on your toes.”
Teams use the Internet to follow their portfolios, research stocks, study how the financial markets work, enter trades at real-time prices, manage budgets and view their weekly regional and state rankings, VISTA Academy teacher Hart Brown said.
Brown said the students check their portfolios every day. They discuss market trends and how current events might affect their investments. He said he enjoys using the program in the classroom, because it provides a way to show how the economy and business work to students who otherwise might be intimidated by subjects such as economics.
“Right when we begin, they do research. They'll go to a site like Google Finance, choose a company and look at its chart, is it going up or down,” Brown said. “They can be pretty creative on the Internet, pulling up some obscure stock investments. We don't have a crystal ball, so it might plummet the next day.”
The game helps develop skills in personal finance, math, economics, language arts, social studies, business education, technology, life skills and critical thinking, all while building and maintaining a stock portfolio, he said.
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