Stock Market Game Week in Review

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.

Although the East Coast got a short glimpse of spring earlier in the week, the markets remain in a deep freeze.

On Friday, President Obama's massive economic stimulus plan was front and center as the House passed it, delayed by lingering controversy. While proponents of the plan feel it will begin to thaw the economic mess by creating/saving 3.5 million jobs, critics contend the bill is filled with unnecessary spending and provisions that will do little to boost the economy. (The package passed the Senate late Friday.)

Earlier in the week, the markets tumbled after U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner revealed plans to assess financial institutions' health and remove their toxic assets with the help of private investors, but he provided few details on how the process would actually work. Stocks rebounded Friday morning as investors awaited the stimulus bill's passage through the House and Senate, but closed the day in negative territory. (Don't miss " Stocks Drop Again Ahead of Presidents Day")

As The Stock Market Game wraps up its prize patrols for the InvestWrite national essay contest winners (and state winners in some states) for the fall semester, we've fielded many questions from students frustrated by the losses they are experiencing in their portfolios. They want quick "fixes" and tips on stocks that will turn their ailing portfolios around. Many may remain frustrated by our advice (since it is not guaranteed to catapult them in the rankings) as we continue to stress the importance of research and the long-term benefits of saving and investing.

If you've already covered the basic lessons under the "Before You Invest" unit in the Lesson Sequence section of the Teacher Support Center, take a look at the lesson, "How Money Grows Over Time." It teaches students about compound interest and the Rule of 72 -- both are excellent demonstrations of the long-term investing philosophy.

With so much of the evening news dedicated to the stimulus package and troubles in the markets, elementary/middle school Stock Market Game students may be interested in the StockTalk issue, "Levers & Loans." It brings our old friends, Queso and Crackers, back together to explain "leverage" and its role in the current financial status of the country.

For our high school students (and upper middle schoolers), the "Buckle Up" edition of In the News is appropriate in addressing the current volatility of the markets. The issue uses the metaphor of a roller coaster ride to introduce an explanation of volatility and the Chicago Board Option Exchange's (CBOE) Volatility Index. The issue also contrasts the market's short-term volatility with its long-term performance. To access the StockTalk and In the News newsletters, please visit the Teacher Support Center. Click the "Publications" link in the In the Classroom section, and locate the appropriate newsletter series from the list of publications.

We also encourage students to get a jump-start on their InvestWrite essays. The essay prompts remain the same from the fall semester, so students who participated last semester and didn't win have another opportunity to revise, edit and rework their essays to earn great prizes. For those of you who did not participate in the InvestWrite competition in the fall, please take a look at the essay questions on our Web site, www.investwrite.info. Essays are due Friday, April 3, 2009. Good luck!

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.

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