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BRE fourth graders team up to learn about investing in stock market game

Fourth Graders at BRE research stocks and discuss their team plan for the Stock Market Game on March 15, 2011.

Article by Elean Gersack

Fourth graders at Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) are taking part in the worldwide Stock Market Game ™ (SMG), a learning program geared for fourth through twelfth grade students.

The SMG was created in 1977 as a way to enhance classroom learning in major core areas (math, language arts and social studies) while focusing on savings and investments. Students at BRE have been playing the SMG for several years. “It is a great way for students to learn the basics of stocks and have a chance to play in the market,” said Jolie Pinke, BRE fourth grade teacher.

Armed with a fictitious $100,000 bank, students are first asked to identify a list of stocks they feel are worthwhile investments. Some do this with parental guidance and others feel confident enough to research companies independently.

Next, students are placed into small groups and asked to appoint a director and a recorder. Together, the teams discuss their collective list of potential stock purchases and institute a plan for investing.

The teams have from mid-March to mid-May to manage portfolios by buying and selling. Playing the SMG requires teamwork, cooperation, communication and critical thinking skills. “The simple goal is to work together to build the most equity over the course of the game,” said Pinke.

According to fourth grader, Trent, his team will first invest in Apple because it is a big company and is likely to produce big earnings. His team’s strategy is to build earnings and re-invest over time, rather than investing everything at once. One of Trent’s teammates, Thomas, feels that after the Apple purchase, it will be important to invest in companies that offer basic needs. “Even in a bear market, people need the basics,” said Thomas.

The SMG pits teams together based on three grade divisions statewide: Elementary: 4th -6th; Junior: 7th – 8th; and Senior: 9th -12th. Teams compete for cash prizes of $100, $75 and $50 for first, second and third place, respectively. Both individuals and their school are awarded the cash amount. Winning teams will also be invited to an awards ceremony in May. For more information about the SMG, visit



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