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Stock Market Games
Bring Math to Life


Are your students in the market for meaningful math? Check out these on-line stock market simulations! Included: A fourth-grade teacher and her students talk about a fun and educational on-line stock market game!

  • Which pays higher interest rates, Treasury Bonds or Treasury Bills?
  • What is a P/E ratio?
  • What is the Dow Jones Industrial Average?
How many of those questions, from the Investing for Kids Financial Quiz, can you answer? Bini Easley's former students at Kahakai Elementary School in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, could probably answer them all! Those students acquired their knowledge of stock market terms -- and turns -- by participating in the CNBC Student Stock Tournament (SST) in Easley's fourth-grade classroom.

The CNBC SST, a free on-line stock market simulation, is a ten-week activity designed to teach students in grades 4 through 12 about investing, money management, and responsible decision making. Each team of students receives a virtual $100,000, which they use to create a stock portfolio. Based on their research of market trends, economic conditions, and business news -- as well as on personal preferences -- students select and trade common or preferred stocks listed on the New York, American, or Nasdaq stock exchanges. Portfolios "earn" interest and "pay" commissions, and students make and lose virtual money while adhering to the same rules and regulations that govern actual traders.

Easley's "Surf City" team competed with student teams from the United States and Canada in an effort to create the most valuable stock portfolio and win 200 shares of General Electric stock. The Kahakai students didn't win any prizes -- but no one seemed to mind. Easley asked the students to share their thoughts about the experience with Education World, and this is what they told us:


Nainoa Q. "When I was in fourth grade, my teacher allowed us to play a stock market game at school and it helped me with my math. I really enjoyed buying stocks. I was interested in Nike, Pepsi and Coca-Cola. The movement of the stock going up meant I was making money, which I liked. When the stock was going down, I was losing money, which I didn't like. I learned to have patience, to focus, and to do a lot of research in order to be successful."

Kai M. "In the fourth grade, I learned many things from playing the stock market game on the Internet. I learned how to buy and sell stocks on the Internet. I learned how to buy and sell stocks, research companies, and how to tell if a stock was good or bad. It was one of the most fun things I ever did on a computer. I found out that it isn't as easy as it looks. It was so much fun that I would recommend this to any fourth, fifth, or sixth graders who are interested in stocks."

Kaimana S. "When I was playing the game, I learned that you can make money fast on the stock market, but you can lose it just as fast. I learned what a stockbroker does. I learned that being a stockbroker is not an easy job. I also learned that being a stock buyer is not an easy job."

Kai V. "At first we bought and sold all our stock every day. I remember we bought stock and made sure the prices were high. We had to invest in GT. It was a high stock during the time we were doing this. We learned what a stockbroker does. I have stock in INTEL now. My mom tells me how it is doing or I hear about how it is doing on the radio and the printout of how much money I make comes in the mail."

Taylor Easley (stockbroker and class advisor) "The stock market game was a fun learning experience for all. The kids got a taste of the excitement of stocks, the wild price fluctuations, the complexity and simplicity of investing, and general rules of thumb. With increased knowledge, many of these young stock-slingers will become successful investors."

Does a student stock tournament sound like an activity your students might enjoy and learn from? If so, check out the CNBC SST or one of the on-line stock market simulation games featured below.


One of the best educationally based stock market games available online can be found at The MainXed Stock Game, presented by MainXchange, Inc., includes a Teachers' Lounge that contains printable cross-curricular lesson plans, a glossary, and some eminently readable and understandable mini stock market lessons. Monthly and yearly competitions are available, as well as team competitions sponsored by Junior Achievement and the Business Professionals of America. Students can register as individuals, or compete against "buddies" in their classroom, or in classrooms across the country!

Registration for the game is free, and students compete for prizes that include computers, trips, and cash. The MainXed site also allows students to access information about a particular company or about a company in a particular business sector using authentic resources such as Hoover's Online, REUTERS, and CNN Interactive Headline News.

It's easy to integrate the MainXed Stock Game into any curriculum, but to make it even easier MainXchange offers an excellent teacher guide which can be ordered on their Web site. It is FREE when you register twenty students, (or $17.95+$3.50 shipping). This excellent resource offers lesson starters, quizzes, and many great ideas for using the simulation in the classroom. Not only is the game great fun and easy to integrate into the curriculum, it also reinforces standards set by the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE), the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE).

One Smithtown, New York, teacher, whose students used the game, noted that it "piqued their interest in what is happening in our economy, as well as in life in general. You see students looking up what the codes stand for; researching companies they are interested in investing in; and reading the newspaper searching for articles that might affect their stocks, as well as those that might reflect the activity of their stock. You even hear students discussing their investments in the hall between classes!"

But it was a student who gave the MainXed game the most glowing recommendation of all, saying, "I can't believe that I'm having fun in school"!


Several other on-line stock market simulations offer much the same kind of fun and "real-world" educational benefits as the CNBC and MainXed games, and most operate in much the same way. However, each has individual features that may make the program more or less suitable for you and your students.

Probably the oldest and best-known on-line stock simulation is the Stock Market Game. This 20-year-old program, developed by the Securities Industry Foundation for Economic Education, includes teacher training, lesson plans, and curriculum materials designed to help teachers integrate the program into their entire curriculum. The program suggests, and helps teachers implement, activities in social studies, language arts, life skills, and technology as well as math, economics, and business education. Most SMG programs, which are administered locally, require a registration fee of about $25 per team. Visit the site and click Pre-Registration Information to find the name of an SMG coordinator in your state.


Look for several on-line stock market simulations at ThinkQuest sites.

The Online Math Stock Game is a great stock market activity for young beginners. In addition to the game, this site provides useful math formulas and discussions of basic investment terms and concepts. Before beginning the game, students can explore such topics as Investment, Stocks, Bonds and Mutual Funds. They can become familiar with such terms as simple and compound interest, return on investment, quotes, and net asset value. An on-line calculator is also provided!

Investing for Kids provides lots of basic information, as well as a stock market game for beginning investors and their teachers. This site includes

The Invest Smart Stock Market Simulation is a stock market and mutual fund simulation. The site provides a tutorial on selecting and trading stock. A Stock Research Query Form allows virtual investors to search a database for information on more than 5,000 commonly traded companies. The library consists of lists of top companies and a number of investment articles. There are also separate teacher and student message boards and a tool for obtaining current stock quotes. The site also provides several options for playing the game.

  • The Smart Stock Game is the basic game, which allows students to invest a virtual $100,000 in common and preferred stock.
  • The Educator allows teachers or students to create private investment groups in which individual members compete against one another.
  • Investment Groups allows more experienced investors to create private groups that collaborate with one another.
  • The InvestSmart Fund Challenge allows students to invest in mutual funds rather than common stock.


Other sites, though less educationally complete than the ones above, also offer stock market simulations or other valuable learning activities.

A ThinkQuest site created by students at Winston Churchill High School, in Potomac, Maryland. Although much of the stock information here is out of date, the simulation is usable, and the site is perfect for educators who want to teach a unit on the stock market but who don't have time for a lengthy project; for students to use before beginning a stock market competition; or for individual students to use on their own. The site includes

  • Company Profiles of a few businesses that might appeal to student investors, such as McDonald's, Toys 'R' Us, and Nike.
  • The Stock Market, an educational tutorial containing information on the history of the stock market and how it works, discussions on selecting and trading stock, and a glossary of investment terms.
  • Simulation, a free simulation that allows students to trade stock to create a personal portfolio.
  • Other links to on-line financial information.

Final Bell
A free on-line simulation sponsored by Sandbox Entertainment. This is a commercial site and it contains advertising. However, unlike most sites, which run one game a semester, potential investors can register for Final Bell each month. Take the Final Bell Tour to learn more about this game.

Some simulations have a slightly different twist.

Wall Street Sports and SportShares are investment games for the sports enthusiast. Instead of buying shares in Nike or Microsoft, students purchase shares of their favorite NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, and MLB athletes. You'll need the sports page for these games. Values rise and fall with each game! The sites include extensive links to team and sports-related sites. Wall Street Sports, a commercial site from Sandbox Entertainment, contains advertising and both sites award prizes, but registration is free and ongoing and the concept will appeal to most students.


These sites provide stock market-related games, rather than actual simulations.

Speedy Stocks
An interesting adjunct to a stock market game -- or a fun assessment tool. At this site, visitors predict how stocks in five different categories -- Tech Stocks, Internet Stocks, Indexes, Dow Stocks, and Player's Choice -- will perform each day. They receive one SpeedyBuck, which can be exchanged for a variety of prizes, for each correct prediction.

The Young Investor
Sponsored by Liberty Financial, this site provides several money-related games, including a money memory game, an investment trivia game, brain teasers, a rebus puzzle, and two crossword puzzles.


These sites provide information and tools to help students and teachers who are involved in a stock market game.

Making Tomorrow's Millionaires
This site, part of an eighth-grade social studies project, includes portfolio templates for use in the classroom as well as links to sources for current stock prices.

Wall Street City
Students can enter the symbols of stocks they've invested in and create their own stock market ticker.

StockMaster Stocks By Name
At this site, students can search for a stock by name and find its ticker symbol.


Researching Companies Online
"This business research tutorial presents a step-by-step process for finding free company and industry information on the World Wide Web."

Virtual Stock Exchange
This site, primarily for college students and adults, includes Stock Market Game, a "simulated securities broker."

The League of American Investors
This site provides investor information, news releases, and company updates and from a number of public companies.

General Investing Links
This site provides links to sites containing company information, stock market quotes, and on-line games.

Can Kids Buy Stocks?
This site answers kids' questions about the Stock market.

Investing 101
This PBS site contains kid-friendly information on investing and some testimonials from students who have played a stock market game.

Investing Links
This site provides links to on-line resources for stock and investment information, with a special section of links for beginners.

The Basics of Investing: A Guide for Educators
This site contains a teacher's guide on the basics of saving and investing.

Young Biz
This free on-line business newsletter for kids provides easy-to-understand information on business and investing. The site includes a Teachers Corner, with investment articles and suggestions for class projects.

International Stock Markets
Explore the New York, London, Tokyo, and Paris stock markets.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2008 Education World

Originally published 11/08/1999
Last updated 04/14/2008