Keeping math interesting and exciting is a key part of Academy360 Upper School teacher Joseph Ostroman’s lesson plan. It includes experiments with coding, 3D modeling, and geometric art projects. But hands-down, his students’ favorite classroom activity is the competitive Stock Market Champs, an interactive project using dynamic spreadsheets formulated by Mr. Ostroman for tracking and managing mock stock portfolios and bank accounts.
At the beginning of each school year, Mr. Ostroman and his class discuss the stock market, patterns in reading graphs and more. Four times a year they are awarded $2500 in pretend money to “purchase” stocks with the goal of winning a gift certificate to the online stock market Stockpile where they can purchase their own real-world stocks. Using Stockpile is a new and intriguing opportunity for his students, and they are excited about it.
“They use their interest in tech companies such as Nintendo, Apple, and others to pick stocks to invest in and are so excited to check the newspaper to see how their stocks are doing,” explains Mr. Ostroman. “Then they enter the information into Google Sheets to track their progress.”
At the end of each quarter, the students use the formulas set up in Sheets to calculate how much they’ve earned and the highest-earner receives a $10 voucher to Stockpile, where with their parents’ help, they can open an account.
“Stockpile is a great place to learn how to invest and creating your first portfolio,” says Mr. Ostroman. “It explains the process really well and has a learn-as-you-go method with a mobile app that is fantastic for young investors just starting out. ”
An extra plus for students with interest in high-profile companies but a beginner’s pocketbook is the ability to buy “fractional shares,” which lets them invest in stocks which reflect their interests, such as video games, sneakers or more.
In the classroom, tracking the information through advanced Google Sheets has the added benefit of teaching students valuable data-entry skills.
“Using spreadsheets is something I love to teach and the kids love using it. They input the calculations and then the program computes the results. In general, learning data-input is a great job skill for the future,” says Mr. Ostroman.
“The main part of teaching math is to make it exciting,” adds Mr. Ostroman with enthusiasm. “Every part of math is functional, but making it exciting is definitely going to make it easier for them to remember.”
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To learn more about Mr. Ostroman’s classroom activities, read: A360 Upper School Math Teacher Uses Tech, Stocks, and More to Engage Students
To learn about Stockpile, visit their website FAQ: https://help.stockpile.com/