Search form

Taking Stock
In the Stock Market



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
Educational Technology
--Applied Math
Social Studies
--Current Events



Brief Description

Track the ups and downs of the stock market -- and the reasons for those fluctuations too.


Students will

  • use a graph to track the stock market for 30 days.
  • track the news stories around the world that impact the stock market.
  • track the ups and downs of one or two stocks.


stock market, Dow Jones Industrial Average, graph, investing, investment

Materials Needed

  • bulletin board space (for graph, and posting of related news stories)
  • access to news about the stock market (newspapers, online sources, etc.)
  • Create a Graph tool (optional)

Lesson Plan

Students hear about the stock markets ups and downs on TV and the radio, but what does that information really mean to them? Chances are it means very little. This lesson will expose students to some basic information about the stock market and involve them in following the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is an index that shows how 30 large, publicly owned companies based in the United States are trading.

Begin the lesson by sharing some basic information about the stock market.

This graph was created using the free online Create a Graph tool.

Introduce a bulletin board titled How Now Dow Jones?" The bulletin board comprises a grid that will enable students to track the movement of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 30 days. The x-axis of the grid will detail the trading days/dates for the coming month; and the y-axis will display a range of averages.
Setting the range on the graph:
What is todays Dow Jones Industrial Average/DJIA? Set that number as the midpoint on the graph. We recommend setting a range 1500 points up and down from that midpoint. For example, if the DJIA is 11000 points today, then the graph will range from 9500 (-1500) to 12500 (+1500). Note: The graph illustration above only ranges 1000 points from the starting point. That might be enough of a range if you are tracking for 30 days. To be safe, a 1500-point range might be best.
Students will have homework each day for the month-long period that you track the stock markets ups and downs. Their assignment will be to listen to TV news reports about the Dow Jones and read other news reports about the stock markets movement. Those reports often mention news stories that are thought to impact the stock market. For example, a dip in foreign markets might cause a negative effect or an upbeat report on unemployment or construction starts might impact the stock market positively. Students should keep their ears tuned to the news that is impacting the stock market and bring that information to class each day. Use additional space on your bulletin board to post news stories about the Dow Jones Industrial Average from local newspapers or online sources.

This introduction to the stock market might get students interested in learning more. After you watch the market fluctuations for a month, you might give students $1,000 in play money with which they can purchase" stocks from one or two companies. You might limit students to these 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average (see the chart below) or they might track stocks from other indexes too. Students will track their stocks performance. Do their investments gain or lose value over the weeks ahead? Students might use the free online Create a Graph tool to create a graph to show their stock(s) performance.

Company Name Stock Market Symbol Industry Type
3M MMM Conglomerate
Alcoa AA Aluminum
American Express AXP Consumer finance
AT&T T Telecommunication
Bank of America BAC Banking
Boeing BA Aerospace and defense
Caterpillar CAT Construction and mining equipment
Chevron CVX Oil & gas
Cisco Systems CSCO Computer networking
Coca-Cola KO Beverages
DuPont DD Chemical industry
ExxonMobil XO Oil & gas
General Electric GE Conglomerate
Hewlett-Packard HPQ Technology
The Home Depot HD Home improvement/retail
Intel INTC Semiconductors
IBM IBM Computers and technology
Johnson & Johnson JNJ Pharmaceuticals
JPMorgan Chase JPM Banking
Kraft Foods KFT Food processing
McDonald's MCD Fast food
Merck MRK Pharmaceuticals
Microsoft MSFT Software
Pfizer PFE Pharmaceuticals
Procter & Gamble PG Consumer goods
Travelers TRV Insurance
United Technologies Corporation UTX Conglomerate
Verizon Communications VZ Telecommunication
Wal-Mart WMT Retail
Walt Disney DIS Broadcasting and entertainment
* Note: Company list can change from time to time.


At the end of a 30-day period of tracking the Dow Jones Industrial Average, have students write a paragraph or brief essay in which they share how the market performed and some of the different news stories that impacted its performance.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 9 - 12
NM-NUM.9-12.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
NM-NUM.9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

MATHEMATICS: Representation
GRADES Pre-K - 12
NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas
NM-REP.PK-12.3 Use Representations to Model and Interpret Physical, Social, and Mathematical Phenomena

GRADES 5 - 8
NSS-EC.5-8.6 Gain from Trade
NSS-EC.5-8.10 Market Institutions
NSS-EC.5-8.11 Money
NSS-EC.5-8.13 Income and Earning
NSS-EC.5-8.15 Investment
NSS-EC.5-8.16 Government in the Economy
GRADES 9 - 12
NSS-EC.9-12.6 Gain from Trade
NSS-EC.9-12.10 Market Institutions
NSS-EC.9-12.11 Money
NSS-EC.9-12.13 Income and Earning
NSS-EC.9-12.15 Investment
NSS-EC.9-12.16 Government in the Economy

NT.K-12.1 Basic Operations and Concepts
NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools
NT.K-12.4 Technology Communications Tools
NT.K-12.5 Technology Research Tools

More Lesson Ideas

Find links to more math lesson ideas in these Education World archives:

  • Math Subject Center
  • Daily Lesson Plans -- Math
  • Lesson Planning/Math Archive
  • Curriculum/Math Archive
  • Math Subject Center
  • Teacher-Submitted Lessons -- Math
  • Number-Cross Puzzles (Printable Work Sheets)
  • It All Adds Up Puzzles (Printable Work Sheets)
  • More Math Printable Work Sheets
  • Morning Math
  • Calculator Lessons from Texas Instruments
  • Pi Day (March 14)
  • Special Days & Holidays Lessons
  • Technology Lessons

    Find links to more social sciences lesson ideas in these Education World archives:

  • Social Sciences Subject Center
  • Daily Lesson Plans -- Social Sciences
  • Lesson Planning/Social Sciences Archive
  • Curriculum/Social Sciences Archive
  • Social Sciences Subject Center
  • Geography Center
  • Teacher-Submitted Lessons -- Social Sciences
  • Geography A to Z (Printable Work Sheets)
  • More Social Science Printable Work Sheets
  • Special Days & Holidays Lessons
  • Technology Lessons

    More Lesson Ideas

    Find additional Technology lessons on our Technology Channel.

    Education World®
    Copyright© 2010 Education World