Economics class invests in stocks on online simulator

October 4, 2010 — by Karen Yang

The unpredictable ups and downs of the stock market have left senior Michael Lin checking the quotes of his stocks constantly. With the pressure of maintaining his spot at the top of history teacher Kim Anzalone’s second-period economics class, Lin has even been accused of cheating.

In her first year of teaching economics, Anzalone assigned her economics students to invest in stocks on Investopedia, a virtual stock simulator. Each student starts with $100,000 and can invest up to 10 percent of his or her money in each stock.

Anzalone integrated this activity into the curriculum for a variety of reasons. Investopedia not only allows students to become familiar with working with computers but also teaches students the basic principles of risk and consequence in the stock market in a real-life, interactive activity.

“The stock market has every single aspect of all the economic principles that we talk about in class,” said Anzalone. “And that’s how it comes together in a real exciting—sometimes predictable, sometimes unpredictable way.”

At the end of the semester, students with the top one-third gains will receive an A on the assignment, while the middle third will earn a B and the last third a C. Anzalone believes that the grading scale will reflect the consequences of making educated risks. With grades at stake, competition has spiked and students have accused others of cheating.

“Everyone in my class hates me,” said Lin, who was accused of investing more than 10 percent of his money in Apple. “But greed is good.”

Investopedia has given Lin a good idea of the risks and rewards of investing. He attributes his success to widespread investment in different areas, from electronic companies like Apple to retail stores like Walmart, and research on current professional analysis of the stock market.

Lin originally thought that the assignment was pointless, but after he emerged at the top of his class, he began to take the assignment more seriously.

“The competition is getting really intense,” said Lin. “It feels good to be number one, but it’s also kind of scary.”

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