Grade 5 Stock Market Investors Win Big

Grade 5 students in Mrs. Yoshino’s computer science class recently competed in The Stock Market Game for 2021. Two of the teams took first and second place in the Hawai’i Elementary School regional competition. Team Pixel (Mckenzie ‘28, Avalyn ‘28, Kyler ‘28, and Reigne ‘28) placed first, and Team Alex (Alexander ‘28) won second. The winning investors were awarded medals and some cool swag from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, sponsors of the contest, for their impressive accomplishment.

The Stock Market Game is a 10-week simulation of Wall Street trading that teaches students about financial markets. Students are given a hypothetical $100,000 in common stocks on the major exchanges. The student teams collaboratively decide on which stocks to buy and sell and monitor their trades during the competition. Each student takes on a specific role on the team: director, researcher, portfolio coordinator, data entry. IPA’s Team Pixel and Team Alex ended the game with $111,828 and $111,009, respectively, finishing first and second among all the teams of elementary students around the state.

“We’ve done The Stock Market Game for several years now,” explains Debbie Yoshino, Elementary computer science teacher. “It’s a fun and relevant way for the students to learn the basics of data analysis as they use spreadsheets to analyze how diverse their portfolios are to help inform future investment decisions.”

Mckenzie ’28 was the director of Team Pixel. “My job was to lead, solve problems, and overview all the buys and sells,” she explains. “We researched different companies and talked about them as a team. But sometimes we just went with our gut feeling.”

Team Pixel’s portfolio coordinator, Avalyn ’28 elaborated on their strategy. “ We decided on the stocks based on how good they’ve been doing for at least five years. We used the B.E.D.D. strategy.”

The competition helps students develop 21st century skills like critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. And the students learn a lot about finance and investing – the importance of saving early, related economic concepts, how data analysis informs decisions, and the value of current events.

“Most of the students love the competition. Some students really get into it and start paying closer attention to current events,” said Yoshino. “This year was especially exciting as the Game Stop fiasco took place right at the start of the competition.”

The students also learned a lot about the benefits and challenges of working together as a team towards a common goal.

“The most challenging thing working as a team was probably just disagreeing with each other,” explained Mckenzie. “We weren’t always on the same page but we usually got over that pretty quickly. But working with my team helped me stay grounded and made sure I didn’t overlook any options.”

“Working with my team helped me work things out faster because my teammates were all focused,” shared Avalyn. “That meant that I could work without getting distracted.”

The Stock Market Game winners had the opportunity to record a short video describing what they learned while playing the game and their plans to invest in the future, and their videos were shared during a virtual ceremony by the SIFMA Foundation announcing the winners.

“I am so proud of the winning teams!” said Yoshino. “Most of the progress monitoring happened outside of class so these students demonstrated discipline and motivation to keep up their portfolios throughout the contest period.”