The Stock Market Game is a curriculum-based teaching tool that allows students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 online stock portfolio to learn about long-term saving and investing.

In terms of recent events and their impact on the market, this semester of The Stock Market Game is shaping up to be an exciting one.

While the Beijing Olympics and gold medal wonder boy, Michael Phelps, monopolized the headlines over the summer, the hot topic as of late has been the Democratic and Republican Conventions. "Change" has become the buzz word for both Obama and McCain and it's what's needed right now in terms of the current economic climate as news from Wall Street continues to be bleak.

In just a few short months,

Freddie Mac

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and

Fannie Mae

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imploded.

Bear Stearns

needed rescuing from

JP Morgan Chase

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Report

and the

Fed

, and there was a formal run on the bank at

IndyMac

TheStreet Recommends

which regulators are calling the second largest bank failure in U.S. history. And then there is the ever softening housing market with 1.2 million homes in

foreclosure

. To make matters worse, this weekend's headlines are focusing on unemployment. The jobless rate has surged to its highest level in five years to 6.1% which is weaker than forecasted. Wall Street is responding with a drop in the

Dow

,

S&P 500

, as well as the

Nasdaq Composite Index

.

Is there any good news on the horizon (besides the start of football season)? And should SMG students expect their total equity to be in the red the entire semester? As you begin this semester your students should expect in the short term, many of the stocks they buy will have significant downside risk, which is why it is imperative that we stress research and the long-term benefits of saving and investing.

If you have yet to introduce your students to the "What is a Company?" and "What is a Stock?" lessons, you should know that these are the natural starting points for using SMG in your classroom -- both are available in the "In the Classroom" section of the

Teacher Support Center

. If you've already covered these topics and are looking for appropriate lessons in a turbulent market, you should return to first principles. One of the bedrock foundations of the SMG is to teach students to save and invest for the long-term. In the

Teacher Support Center

, the lesson, "How Money Grows Over Time" teaches students about compound interest and the Rule of 72 -- both are excellent demonstrations of the long-term investing philosophy.

Also, since this is an election year, stay tuned for more information about a brand new SMG project focusing on how the presidency affects the overall performance of the market. Do certain industries and sectors respond differently based on who occupies the White House? If so, why?

Enjoy The Stock Market Game program this semester and happy back-to-school!

To learn more about The Stock Market Game, visit www.stockmarketgame.org.

This article was written by a staff member of The Stock Market Game.