JA Take Stock in Your Future introduces high school students to the stock market. This program may include two components: a classroom curriculum, and for many participants, the JA Stock Market Challenge competition event. The classroom curriculum comprises five sessions that introduce students to basic concepts about how the stock market works and the impact of current events on the stock market. The program also includes multiple self-guided extension activities that engage students in deeper learning about the stock market and investing. Through JA Take Stock in Your Future, students discover the benefits and challenges of investing in the stock market as part of a broader, long-term investment strategy and the risks and rewards of trading.
• Part of the JA Financial Literacy Pathway with a secondary focus on Work and Career Readiness Pathway
• Curriculum delivery in person (face-to-face in the classroom) or virtually (online in a remote classroom)
Students are introduced to the foundational concepts of stocks and the stock market through the analysis of an authentic, real-time stock market report. Then, they practice selecting stocks from a fictitious market to develop a portfolio.
Students explore how stocks are traded, how stock prices are affected by current events, and how investors make investment decisions and diversify their portfolios. They are introduced to stock indexes/averages and stock tables, and they practice buying, selling, or holding stocks from their fictitious stock portfolio.
Students analyze today's stock market and explore the concept of dividends. They analyze their fictitious stock portfolio and calculate their dividend payments.
Students put their new stock market knowledge and skills into practice as they compete to win an in-class competition. This session is designed to be flexible based on students' grade level and experience, plus the online stock market simulation tool selected by local JA Areas.
Planning for the Future
Students reflect on their experience participating in the in-class competition and/or the JA Stock Market Challenge event and connect the simulations to the real world. They conclude the program by developing their own financial goals.
Private vs. Public Companies (Optional Extension)
In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn the basics of company ownership models using a pizza business scenario. They explore the advantages and disadvantages for a company of remaining private or becoming publicly owned.
Smart Investing (Optional Extension)
In this 20-minute extension activity, students learn the basics of stock market investing, read and respond to scenarios about investing, and are introduced to three investing strategies. (Suggested for Session One)
Diversification and Risk; Setting Stock Prices and Trading Stock; Factors that Influence Stock Prices; The Animals of the Stock Market (Optional Extensions)
(Suggested for Sessions One and Two)
Diversification and Risk: In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn that, even though individual investors may have different risk tolerances, smart investors always seek to minimize their risk by diversifying their portfolios.
Setting Stock Prices and Trading Stock: In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn why public companies sell stock, what happens during a company's initial public offering, and how stocks are traded on a stock exchange.
Factors that Influence Stock Prices: In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn the basics of supply and demand in the stock market, explore factors that impact stock price, and read and respond to scenarios related to determining stock price.
The Animals of the Stock Market: This 15-minute extension activity focuses on the peculiar, animal-centric language of the stock market. Students will learn about bull and bear markets, black swan events, dead cat bounces, and other turns of phrase that can describe individuals and situations related to investing and the stock market.
My Stock Portfolio (Optional Extension)
This extension activity enables students to select real stocks on the stock market using an initial imaginary investment of $10,000. Students create a stock portfolio and then track and adjust their investments over time. This activity has no time limit, and students may track and adjust their portfolios for as long as they'd like. (Suggested for Sessions Two, Three, and Four)
Data Gathering; Comparing Investment Channels (Optional Extension)
(Suggested for Session Two)
Data Gathering: This 20-minute extension activity focuses on the importance of making informed investment decisions. It explains several ways to accumulate information about a prospective company's stock and describes the importance of evaluating each source of information fully and objectively.
Comparing Investment Channels: In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn about several ways in which investors buy and sell stocks, uncovering the upsides and downsides of each method.
Analyzing Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) (Optional Extension)
This 15-minute extension activity focuses on initial public offerings (IPOs) and how the company's initial stock price is determined. (Suggested for Sessions Two and Three)
Financial Watchdogs (Optional Extension)
This 20-minute extension activity focuses on the agencies and organizations tasked with protecting investors and regulating financial markets and products. (Suggested for Session Three)
Taxes and the Stock Market (Optional Extension)
In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn about short- and long-term capital gains and the ways in which they are taxed differently, depending on income. (Suggested for Sessions Three or Four)
Preparing for the JA Stock Market Challenge (Optional Extension)
This 30-minute extension activity prepares students for the JA Stock Market Challenge. Students review the big ideas about stocks and the stock market that they must understand to participate in the JA Stock Market Challenge. They also learn about the different roles on the team and the rules of the competition. (Suggested for Session Four)
Evaluating Your Financial Plan (Optional Extension)
This 15-minute extension activity focuses on reviewing and assessing a financial plan and selecting investments that meet stated goals. (Suggested for Session Five)
Investing for the Long Term (Optional Extension)
In this 15-minute extension activity, students learn why investing over the long-term offers the best path toward success in the market and why day trading can be fraught with risk. (Suggested for Session Five)