In an innovative approach, kids are studying world social studies through the stock market. At Margaret Brent Middle School students in Joseph DeStefanis’ seventh grade social studies class are learning the value of companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks, and becoming financially literate.
DeStefanis won the 2017 Financial Education and Capability award for his book, “Stock Market for Life.” He has created worksheets to help students learn about the stock market, and the online competition, The Stock Market Game, by the Maryland Council of Economics.
“Because seventh grade is global geography, we’re doing essentially world economics systems so we’re looking at China’s relationship with the United States” using educational material such as a Ted Koppel video cataloging the pros and cons of global trading, he said. Teaching students about the stock market “doesn’t seem out of place with all of the curriculum.”
In teaching students how to evaluate stock, DeStefanis tells students to pick companies they like, and then get into a group and see what others have chosen. If a company is a pick among multiple students, then very likely it is a popular choice in the real world.
DeStefanis’ work with The Stock Market Game began when he was a teacher at Lexington Park Elementary School and it “works great with elementary students,” he said. “They love it, it was simple … Everything I do [with teaching stocks] starts off with who owns Apple …. When I say no one person owns Apple, any one of [the students] can go home today and become a part owner of your favorite company. Then the light bulb goes off in their head, it’s a switch to an ownership mentality.”