Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- When Park Forest-Chicago Heights School District 163’s fifth grader Khalia Smith arrives home from school she watches an episode of the reality investment program “Shark Tank” that she has recorded. The show’s business tips and the research she and her teammates undertake about investment possibilities help them make good decisions on stock buys for the Stock Market Game their honors class is involved in.
“I love the Shark Tank,” said an enthusiastic Khalia while her three teammates nodded in agreement. “I record it and watch it with my parents.”
Khalia and classmates Anyah Bennett, Caryn Blair, and Camara Thomas are members of one of the seven teams in Danielle Gladstone’s honors class at Mohawk Intermediate Center that are playing the Illinois Capitol 2012 Stock Market Game. Their team currently is in second place among 250 teams in the south suburbs. A number of the teams in Ms. Gladstone’s class have placed among the top ranking teams in the competition and they have outranked many high school teams. Two other teams currently are ranked eight and 17. The top winner among the 250 teams will be honored in Springfield in the spring. Ms. Gladstone’s class was invited to be a part of the 2012 Illinois Capitol Stock Market Game, an elite category, based on the first place ranking of Ms. Gladstone’s class two years ago in the Stock Market Game.
“The competition doesn’t conclude until December 14, but some of our teams have ranked in first place and second place. They are competing against 17 and 18 year-olds at such high schools as Sandburg, Proviso West and Oak Park-River Forest. One of our teams is getting seven percent return on their investments. The fifth graders are working very hard on their investments and loving it. Now they also are working on argument/informative essays where students are focusing on one specific stock investment.”
The Stock Market Game provides an opportunity for students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in an online portfolio. Students work in teams and research stocks, decide what to buy, track the stock, and hold it or sell it based on its activity. Each team has a banker, researcher, statistician, and numbers cruncher. At least 100 shares of a stock must be purchased. The fifth graders check their online portfolios daily and keep graphs that chart their stocks’ performance. The teams also keep a log of each stock’s purchase and sold prices. They learn about stocks through their research and through their daily experiences.
“My mom loves Starbuck’s coffee so I thought that was a good stock to consider,” said Khalil Jefferson, whose team has ranked among the top 10 in the competition. “I also thought that Apple might be a good stock when I saw the iPod that a friend of mine has. We look at stocks of things that we encounter. We are focusing on growth and trying to buy low and sell high.”
Brian Ridger, Khalil’s teammate, explained that the team looks at a stock that is doing well, discusses it and then votes whether to buy it. “If we all don’t agree on the stock, we don’t buy it,” said Brian.
Brian said that the Stock Market Game has helped his math skills improve. Fellow team member, Terron Webb, who is the statistician and charts each stock’s growth, proudly noted, “We don’t use a calculator when we are making calculations.”
Khalia said that she and her team did not start out well but then their research work improved and they jumped from a bottom ranking to first place just after Thanksgiving. “We lost more than $102,000. I’m not ashamed. Now we know how to buy and we have $103,940. We have dropped to eighth place but we will work hard to go back up. We are paying a lot of attention to our stock picks.”
“You have to be sure that you have enough information about a stock before you buy it,” cautioned Anyah.
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