The fall session of the South Dakota Stock Market Game(SDSMG), sponsored in part by Black Hills State University, concluded with more than 580 students from 21 schools participating.

During the 10-week trading period, students formed 215 teams of stock market investors and researched various companies and industries before purchasing online shares with $100,000 in cyber funds.

The program’s carefully integrated curriculum allows students to experience the financial markets in the classroom as they learn about business, math, economics, personal finance and the importance of saving and investing for the long term. The students compete for prizes in competitive divisions.  

A weekly coordinator newsletter and curriculum materials and lesson plans help teachers assist students in learning about the United States’ economic system and basic concepts in business, math, economics, language arts, social science and computer information systems. The game correlates to national educational standards in economics, business and math. Students also learn about stock market trading; public ownership of companies; costs, risks, and rewards of financial decision making; teamwork; and research skills.

The largest division this fall was the high school division with 183 teams from 17 high schools competing. Brandon Valley High School had the best portfolio in the state at $126,586, an impressive return of 26 percent considering the Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost about 2 percent during this time, according to Don Altmyer, BHSU associate professor of business and accounting and director of the BHSU Center for Economic Education which runs the SDSMG.  Brandon Valley High School teacher Lana Main incorporated the program in her personal finance class.

The winner of the middle school division was Edison Middle School in Sioux Falls. Colleen Wheeler incorporated it as part of her sixth-grade gifted class.

Altmyer said the program has been a great way to engage students of all ages.

“Once the teachers try it and see the (positive) reaction from their students, they usually come back,” he said. “The teachers say how motivated their students are to come to class.”

Although the students are working with cyber dollars, they pick their portfolios and watch what happens. They really become invested in watching the market, he said.

Altmyer said BHSU will have a team during the spring session, which begins on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.

The BHSU Center for Economic Education has an exclusive license to operate the program in South Dakota with the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). The SMG program is consistently identified as the leader in youth financial education and the only program proven in rigorous, independent studies year-after-year to raise math and financial literacy test scores and to change financial behavior for the better for students and teachers. More than 600,000 students from all 50 states participate each year. The SMG program includes InvestWrite, a national essay competition that is the culminating SMG activity. Students are challenged to think critically about real-world financial issues by preparing essays on long-term saving and investing. Winners receive a paid trip to New York City and a visit to the New York Stock Exchange.

The SDSMG is sponsored by the BHSU Center for Economic Education, SIFMA and the South Dakota Council on Economic Education. The BHSU Center for Economic Education is affiliated with the National Council on Economic Education and provides economic and personal finance programs for South Dakota middle school, high school and college students. The South Dakota Council on Economic Education oversees two Centers for Economic Education inthe state: BHSU and the University of South Dakota.

Registration for the spring session begins Jan. 1, 2013. To register go to www.stockmarketgame.org.  For more information, contact Don Altmyer at Donald.Altmyer@BHSU.edu