Markets and Trading: A BCA Project

Rohan Joshi, Writer

The markets and trading project, taught by Mr. Fogg, is a project where BCA students learn how the stock market works, create a portfolio of stocks, and trade with fake money on a virtual stock exchange. This is an exciting new foray into the world of investing and making money that most students aren’t exposed to in high school. 

In the very first week of the project, each student must pick a stock that they believe will go up over the course of the trimester. Every day, the opening price, closing price, and percentage change in the stock must be logged in a journal (a Google Sheets page). An interesting twist is that the student must also pick a random stock from a stock picker, and also track the movements of the entire stock market. For many students, the general market, and often even the random stock, go up more than their own handpicked stocks. This is done to prove how complex predicting market movements really is. 

Example daily stock journal from project

After a few weeks of learning the different kinds of investing, students receive a code to enter a game that simulates the stock market. Every student gets one hundred thousand dollars of their own fake money to invest in this exchange and can buy mutual funds and individual stocks, short stocks, buy corporate bonds, and much more. Many students find that the game teaches them valuable investing strategies. 

“The stocks that I picked in the game reflected some of the stocks that I felt were going to be profitable in the long-term,” said Rudra Patel, a BCA medical academy student. “Many of the stocks I picked in the game are companies whose products I use every day and that I see as the major companies of the market in general. Most of these are, in fact, tech companies that are often releasing new innovations of devices and products, such as Apple and Microsoft.” 

Every week, Mr. Fogg puts the stock portfolio value of every student on the board to show how much money each student has made so far, leading to some friendly competition. He also congratulates those who have made the most money. 

Graph of S&P 500 market price from stock market game

Throughout the project, students explore how current events impact market prices, such as how the recent Amazon worker strikes on Black Friday significantly brought down the price of Amazon stock. Students also learn about how recent economic news, such as the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and inflation rising, affects the market. 

“Learning about current events each week, and watching current events impact the price of my stocks in real-time is one of the most exciting parts of the class,” said Rudra. Indeed, market volatility induced by recent events can lead to some exciting highs and lows. 

Finally, the trimester is wrapped up by a final presentation on the stocks that were picked throughout the trimester, and the reasoning behind why these stocks were picked. Students are asked to calculate risk, predict returns, and focus on long term profit – everything real investors do on Wall Street. 

A portfolio presented by a student with cash, stocks, and mutual funds

Overall, this project is a valuable introduction to investing and trading. Students learn how to track their stocks in a journal, use a virtual simulation to trade in real-time, and learn about how current events impact the market. This is much more useful than just lecturing because students can see how their decisions of when to buy and sell affect their portfolio value, and are more engaged because of the competition to have the highest portfolio value.