A team of four Westwood students spent ten weeks trading stocks playing the Stock Market Game. The team, made up of Slayde Robinson, Josie Melton, Analeigh Barton and Smith Browning, placed first in the region competition and 106th place out of 2938 teams in the state competition.
During a time when the majority of stocks were trending downwards and even the most experienced investors faced losses, these fifth-grade students were able to make a profit and saw an 11.5749% return on investment.
“In our uncertain economic times, many teams were not able to show any profit,” teacher and coach Martha Thomason said. “Many teams ended the game with losses under the starting investment amount of $100,000. We are very proud of this team!”
The Stock Market Game is hosted annually by the Georgia Council on Economic Education (GCEE). The game is played by teams of between two and five students in grades four through 12.
According to the GCEE website, the game, “is an interactive, interdisciplinary educational program you can use to help students learn about economics, finance and the American economic system. During the 10-week simulation, teams of up to five students manage a hypothetical $100,000 portfolio and invest in stocks found on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange, and the NASDAQ.”
Analeigh Barton said she wanted to participate in the Stock Market Game in order to gain real-world experience that could help her in the future.
“It can lead to investing in the future,” Barton said. “It’s not just something where you do it now, but it’s not going to help you with anything later in life.”
The students began by learning directly from expert Randy Russell, senior financial advisor with VALIC Financial Advisors. Russell came to their class and explained how the stock market works, how to look for trends and how to trade stocks.
Barton said the team learned how to find stocks that were performing well and how to look out for stocks that were doing poorly.
“We had to find stocks that were doing well and buy them,” Barton said. “And then if we found stocks that were doing bad, we could short sell them.”
Slayde Robinson said playing the Stock Market Game helped him to understand the inner workings of the stock market.
“I learned how to work with others,” Robinson said. “I also learned more about the stock market and how some adults are able to make money.”
Josie Melton said she learned to have patience with the stocks and how to wait and see how they would perform in the long-run.
“Don’t turn a stock down just because at that moment it’s not great,” Melton said. “One of our best stocks in the end was one of the worst ones we bought at the beginning. It wasn’t doing bad, but it wasn’t doing good either at the time.”
The teammates said their strategy was to look at the S&P 500 daily and see how the stocks were performing. They also tried to pay attention to what was happening in the world to try and predict how stocks would perform.
“We looked on the S&P 500 and clicked on stocks that looked like they were going up,” Smith Browning said. “When I was looking, I would look at the oil and gas companies, because I knew that gas prices were really expensive and it was really in demand at the time.”
Martha Thomason said she was extremely impressed with the team’s performance at the state competition, especially considering that they were competing against middle and high school students as well as other elementary-aged students.
“To be fifth graders and place 106th out of 2938 teams through 12th grade is very impressive.” Thomason said.