The Stock Market Game Week in Review: 2007-08 Inaugural Edition

Here's your kick-off guide to the new school year.
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In this our inaugural edition of the Week in Review for the 2007-2008 school year, The Stock Market Game (SMG) program is proud to announce that it's celebrating its 30th Anniversary!

SMG has come a long way since 1977 when William B. Bennett of the Buffalo State College Center for Economic Education created the program which was based on the Canadian Stock Market program developed by Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Schools were accepted on a first come first serve basis and teachers received a "tool kit" consisting of a Stock Market Game manual, reference sources, and visual aids. The prizes were quite substantial - first place received $250 and top regional teams received $50 at the SMG awards banquet.

The basic premise of the program has remained the same throughout the years - students working cooperatively to grow their $100,000 virtual cash accounts into top-performing portfolios. What has changed quite dramatically is the method in which trades are entered. In the 70's students managed their portfolios via

Scantron sheets and teachers closely watched postmark dates to ensure their students received the proper day's closing prices. Clearly real-time trading and daily rankings were not possible and if an incorrect ticker symbol was entered, it may have taken a bit of time before it was corrected. Today's version of the program, delivered via the Internet, evolved from the fax-trade version and was introduced in the Fall of 1996.

Many interesting events took place in 1977 - the year Jimmy Carter succeeded Gerald Ford as the 39th President of the United States. It was a hot year for computer companies as

Apple Computer

(AAPL) - Get Report

became incorporated in January and Apple II, the first personal computer with color graphics was introduced. Radio Shack, The Tandy Corporation, and Commodore also launched mass-market computers during 1977. In addition, Larry Ellison began his rise to fame as

Oracle Corporation

(ORCL) - Get Report

was incorporated as Software Development Laboratories (SDL).

In pop culture,

Roots

began its phenomenally successful run on ABC - owned by

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

- while

Star Wars

(later renamed to

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

) opened in May and became the highest grossing film of all time (it would eventually be superseded in box-office receipts by

Titanic

). This was also the year Reggie Jackson blasted three home runs in a single game to lead the New York Yankees to World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Your students may also be interested in knowing that Orlando Bloom (the actor), Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury (both basketball players) and Shakira (Colombian singer) were all born in 1977.

After suffering through a year that included the great New York City black-out, on Wall Street, the general feeling during 1977 was not positive.

The Dow Jones average of 30 industrial stocks dropped 17.3% and closed at 1004, its year-end record, while today it's around 13,000. As mentioned in the

Dow & Then

edition of the

Ticker's Tale

publication (available in the Teacher Support Center), if you had invested $10,000 in the Dow's stocks back then your investment today would be worth more than $140,000 excluding dividends! Fortunately today students are able to invest in a

fund that tracks the Dow.

The Diamond Trust, Series 1

(DIA) - Get Report

is an ETF (

exchange-traded fund) that does just that.

Since this is the first week of The Stock Market Game program, we recommend reviewing the "Getting Started in The Stock Market Game" lesson located in the

Teacher Support Center. This lesson is designed to help students understand how trades are made, how investment strategies are developed and how stock purchase prices are determined in the SMG program. The lesson is accessible in the

Teacher Support Center by clicking "Lesson Sequence" and then selecting "Display a Complete Outline of All Lessons."

We look forward to another 30 years of teaching students the importance of long-term saving and investing.

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