Stock market challenge teaches trading, saving

Bellefonte Area School District  |  Posted on

Students in fifth-grade teacher Nick Downs’ class at Benner Elementary School have been learning that if they save as little as 10% of their earnings throughout their life, they can make a lot of money. It’s the premise of a lesson about the stock market that will eventually benefit other students at the school with earnings made throughout the month of December.

Downs said he brought a personal passion of the stock market into the classroom to use with everyday math concepts that also tie into curriculum.

“For the holidays, I explained the 10% rule,” he said. “I have my own personal trading account and we agreed as a class that I’d take 10% of what I made for the month of December and they’d help contribute 10% of what I made to buy sneakers for kids who need them for (physical education) here at Benner.”

According to Google Finance, the 10% rule encourages individuals to save at least 10% of their income before taxes and expenses, and can therefore help with collecting enough savings toward retirement.

By December 21, more than $300 was raised for the class’ campaign to give back, and Downs added that he was inspired to give back to the school by Ross Cameron, founder of Warrior Trading, which Downs is an active student of. Cameron has donated more than $1 million to various charities.

Using a program called Personal Finance Lab, the students worked independently and among groups to participate in mock day trading, but using real data. Personal Finance Lab is an application through the Pennsylvania Council of Financial Literacy. They then competed as a class through the state Stock Market Challenge where students from other schools in the commonwealth participate in similar projects. Benner students said the companies that have been doing the best in their project is Biofrontera, Roku and Tesla.