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Game teaches elementary students about stock market

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Steve Knighton, principal at Piedmont Elementary, was a young paperboy, he never considered investing his earnings in the stock market.

But, now, he says he knows some youngsters who have financial sense beyond their years.

"I think there are some fifth-grade students here that now know more about the stock market than most of our teachers and myself," he said. "It's phenomenal."

For years, a volunteer spent time with some of Piedmont Elementary's students to teach them how to play the stock market and plan their financial futures through an MSNBC stock market game.

The stock simulator hands out virtual money to students and teaches them how to track fluctuating market prices and make wise decisions, turning real-world lessons into a healthy competition, Knighton said.

"Talk about 21st century learning," he said. "With this, students are able to transfer everything they're learning -- computer skills, social studies -- into the game where they can see real results.

"The money was obviously fake, but to these kids, it was very real. We had fifth-grade students competing with high school and even college students."

Piedmont no longer has a volunteer to lead the special stock market sessions, but Knighton hopes to get the chance to start the game back up again and encourages teachers and parents to use the stock simulator in everyday life.

"The hope is that when these students grow up and can actually benefit from this knowledge, they'll remember it and use it to their advantage," he said.

Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.mays@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.


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