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Lesson plan: Taking stock of market

July 5, 2000
Web posted at: 8:28 p.m. EST (0028 GMT)

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Students will:

  • Determine the overall performance of the stock market during their lifetime and make predictions about future performance.
  • Construct and draw inferences from graphs that summarize data from real world situations.


Achieve Standards for Mathematics

High schools students should be able to collect, represent and process data through activities of major importance to contemporary society.

National Standards for Social Studies
VII. Production, Distribution and Consumption

High school students develop economic perspectives and deeper understanding of key economic concepts, standards and processes through systematic study of a range of economic and sociopolitical systems, with particular emphasis on the examination of domestic and global economic policy.


CNNfyi article, "Piggy bank stocks"
Internet access
Graph paper

Suggested time

One class period


1. Ask students about their knowledge of the stock market. Find out if any students follow any stocks, and why or why not.

2. Read the CNNfyi article "Piggy bank stocks." Then ask students:

  • Why is 14-year old Helen Adeosun interested in the stock market? How does her interest reflect a growing trend on Wall Street?
  • How are some schools getting students interested in investing in the stock market?
  • What are stocks? What is the Dow Jones industrial average? What other stock averages are closely watched on Wall Street?
  • How does the stock market serve as a barometer of the U.S. economy?

3. Identify the year in which most of your students were born. Distribute graph paper and pencils. Divide the class into small groups. Assign each the task of finding out what the closing number was for the Dow Jones industrial average on the last day of various specific years since the students were born through 1999.

4. Call out each year and have each group reveal its number. Write that number, along with the corresponding year, on the board.

5. Have each group use all the data to prepare a graph illustrating the Dow's performance over all the years studied. If possible, have students calculate the percentage change (up or down) for each year.


Have each student write an essay offering his/her predictions for the Dow's performance five years from now. Have each student indicate what political and economic trends are likely to support his/her predictions.


Logical/mathematical: Students can create flowcharts of what happens to someone's money when a person invests in the stock market.


Students can write brief essays about how interest in the stock market reflects the economy.

CNN Financial Network
Dow Jones Averages
Motley Fool: Stock quotes and data Market commentary
Kids' Investments

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