This spring, the Offutt School of Business launched two trading challenges for middle school and high school students: the Fargo-Moorhead Commodity Trading Challenge, open to all F-M schools, and the Minnesota FFA Commodity Trading Challenge, open to any Minnesota FFA chapter. Both challenges lasted 11 weeks.
Each school was given $200,000 USD in a portfolio with the goal of completing 30 trades. Using the online stock trading simulator, StockTrak, students participating in the challenges were able to gain experience in a real-life setting, similar to the Offutt School of Business’s finance lab. Many students found the challenge to be insightful in learning more about the stock market and how it operates in the real world.
“It was a good experience to learn how the stock market works and what to watch for as you are buying in the market,” said one participant.
Students from Morris (Minn.) High School took first, second, and third place in the FFA Commodity Trading Challenge, bringing in a grand total of $750 in prize money. Students from Park Christian School in Moorhead did a clean sweep as well, earning $600 in prizes. Participants, some as young as seventh grade, met during their lunch hour to complete the project with their faculty advisor.
Michael Levang, Park Christian School principal for seventh-12th grades, was impressed with the experience.
“It was so much fun,” he said. “Our kids were excited about it and it was easy to navigate.”
Levang also said that setting aside weekly time to participate in the challenge was paramount to Park Christian’s success and offers advice to schools who trade with StockTrak in the future.
“Get a dedicated time when you can meet and trade. It should be at least one time a week,” he said. “Have computers available and a screen to project onto and enter the contest with a group of teachers so you are competing along with them.”
Tammy Socha, an agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Morris Area High School, said the competition went well and believes the prize was an incentive for the students.
“The most exciting part of the challenge was logging on every day to see how our teams were doing with their stocks and commodities and seeing how they ranked overall,” she said. “The prize money was definitely a big incentive and made the students excited to work hard to be successful in the challenge.”
Looking toward the future, Socha said she plans to implement the challenge with other students.
“This was a great experience for myself and my class,” she said. “I would definitely have my future classes participate in this challenge.”