An Overview of Stock Market Challenges and
Financial Competitions for the Classroom

What Is A Stock Market Challenge?

In an effort to bring real-world investing experience into elementary and secondary classrooms, educators in Ontario today have been searching out activities that both engage and immerse students in financial realities. Many teachers are using stock market challenges to assist their students in understanding the principles of investment. A stock market challenge offers a unique technological interface that mimics the Toronto Stock Exchange and allows students to participate in the buying and selling of a variety of investment products. Classes and schools compete against each other over a period of time and both cash and university scholarships are awarded to the individual or group with the highest profitability. Theorists and teachers concur that activities with real-world applications are most effective in helping students to learn and problem solve. In data gathered by a Washington D.C. based nonprofit coalition, it was determined that graduating students who were involved in interactive investment games showed increased levels of financial literacy. Trotter (2004) also agrees that 'edutainment" can drench students and teachers in the 'play' that is a critical element in transformational learning. If you are a teacher in business, guidance, cooperative education, family studies or math, think of this activity as an exciting way for both you and your students to become investment savvy.

How Much Class Time Does A Stock Market Challenge Take?

To introduce the concepts of investing and to outline the process of the stock market game, you will need approximately 3 or 4 class periods. If you are unfamiliar with the market yourself, teacher resources are provided and step-by-step guidance is available. Once the challenge begins, students will need about 20 minutes a week to research their companies and make investment decisions. After the key concepts have been taught, the game will run by itself and all of the trades and choices students make for their investment portfolio will be managed within the online program. This is a tremendous learning experience in the area of personal finance and investment. Along with the many opportunities provided to learn about the market, students will also gain insight and exposure into a variety of associated career opportunities in this industry.

How Do the Competitions Work?

After you have selected a stock market challenge from the chart below, the company will send your students a fictional bank account with a fixed amount of money. You will also receive a time line that delineates when the competition begins and when it ends. In most cases, students are given the option to either work alone or in a small group. Accompanying lessons and newspaper programs help to augment learning and many stock market challenge programs offer teacher resource packages. Some educators who have used these programs in the past believe it is appropriate to tie the results of the competition to a final mark while others use the simulation simply to support their teaching and infuse some healthy competition into the classroom environment.

Ten Reasons Teachers Use Stock Market Challenges in Their Classrooms

  1. Targets the financial learning and career expectations in many disciplines
  2. Provides real-world exposure to equity investing
  3. Develops research and report-writing skills as students investigate the companies in which they are investing
  4. Requires students to become adept at using technology and print media in a relevant way
  5. Fosters healthy competition between and among classes, schools, and boards of education
  6. Allows students to experience, first hand, the role of the "Investment Advisor"
  7. Prepares students for the personal management of their own money
  8. Develops thinking and computation skills as students track and monitor their investments and use projection calculators and formulas
  9. Informs students about the ethical processes and structures of investing
  10. Allows students to explore and understand their own monetary values

Share this rationale with your students before you begin your unit on the stock market.

Overview of Stock Market Games Available In Ontario

Examine the following chart and select a stock market challenge that suits the needs of you and your students

Cost Registration Dates Resources Prize
The CSI Investor Challenge
$29.95 per person or group of 3 Sept-Nov Includes an activity package and a free teacher portfolio is provided Winner receives a $500 cash prize Intermediate
Nipissing University Investment Challenge
Free of charge


Teaching suggestions provided on website

1st Prize - $2,000 tuition credit
or $1,000 cash
2nd Prize - $1000 tuition credit or
$500 cash
rd Prize - $250 cash
Top School - $500 cash

Secondary Schools

Junior Achievement Investment Challenge
Free of charge
Free lunch
Groups of four
This is a full-day simulation at the Toronto Stock Exchange

No resources provided

Variety of prizes available

Grades 7-12
*Check with your local chapter of JA as programs vary.

The Hamilton Spectator Challenge
Free to the first 200 teachers who register

8 weeks long

Resource activity packages are included. A free newspaper program is also part of the offer. Dollar prize

Grades 4-OAC

Wilfred Laurier Stock Market Challenge - National and Regional Competition
$25 per person or group Fall Start
- September
Winter Start
- January

12 weeks long
Teacher resources are provided

Free copies of the National Post with program

Award - $1000 scholarship to W. Laurier
$500 cash award

cash award, plaque and trophy

Secondary School Students

Teacher Testimonial:
"If you want to see students passionate about learning - a stock market challenge will create it for your students. I've never seen such concentrated team work. The best part for me was the connections I made with other schools and business teachers as a result of participating in this challenge. "
Steve Oliver, Secondary School Business Teacher

Other Business Challenges, Competitions and Conferences

Type of Challenge Description of Event
High School Virtual Business Competition

Computer Based
Carlton University Sprott School of Business

This competition allows high school students to run their own virtual business while making a variety of senior management decisions for a fictional firm in a fictional industry.

Students work in teams of four and compete with classmates at other schools.

The object of the game is to make the most money.

Cost: Free of Charge
Business and Life Simulations

Computer Based
Go Venture

This company offers several business and life simulations on CD. They material enhance training in marketing, entrepreneurship, business, finance, economics, career, family and consumer sciences, and math.

Go Venture Small Business
Go Venture Personal Finance
Go Venture Entrepreneur
Go Venture StockMarket
Go Venture Point of Sale

Cost: $175.00 Teacher license
$30.00 per student per year for resource material and CD
Classroom Based Competitions

 The Ontario Business Educators' Association (OBEA)

This association offers outstanding resource support for teachers of business and computers. When you visit the website, you will find a variety of classroom-based competitions for secondary school students. Competitions run annually in the following areas.

Marketing and Promotion
Accounting Grade 11 and 12
Computer Website
Desktop Publishing
Organizational Studies
Computer Programming
Conferences and Competitions

Junior Achievement

This youth program has many different programs and events for students in both elementary and secondary schools. In partnership with business and educators, Junior Achievement brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential.