K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about how companies can be publicly held corporations through stock.
  • learn how private individuals invest in these companies in hopes that these companies will make a profit or in time make a profit.
  • learn terms such as bull market, bear market, stock, shares, dividends, short sell, going long, NYSE, AMEX, NASDAQ, the Dow Jones, the S&P500, profit, loss, and other market words.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 Hours


  • graph paper for each student
  • the business page from the paper every day, and remember to keep Saturday’s paper to bring to class on Monday. Have the kids also bring their business papers.

Technology resources

With a connection to the Internet, utilize the web sites below. As for software, there is a nice freeware application called NetStock. The software and related documents are contained in the file NetStock.zip. It is simple to add every student’s stock into this program and have it check all entries in a matter of seconds.


  1. Say that you are going to give each student $10,000 each (or maybe $100,000) and have them buy stock in ONE company. (It can get too complicated for you if students divest.)
  2. Pass out to each student a sheet of graph paper. (See Ramtron below for a silly, one-week example.)
  3. Decide if you want to let them buy half shares with no money left over (e.g. Billy owns 45.69 shares of Wal-Mart) or if you will only let them own whole shares and have money left over in a “bank” or “money market” account. Calculators are very helpful at this stage.
  4. Explain to them “eighths” (.13, .25, .38, .50, .63, .75, .88). Have them take their graph paper and draw a line chart. The X-axis will be days (don’t include Saturdays and Sundays), and the Y-axis will be eighths, quarters, or halves. (This depends on the price of the stock. High-cost stock are often no more volatile, but their trading range is larger and may go off the sheet of paper. So, lower price stocks go with eighths, medium with quarters, and anything over ~$80 should be in halves. You make the call.)
  5. Chart their progress every day. I have done this for one week, but mostly I use it over the course of a month.
  6. On the designated day, have the students sell their stock and see who gained the most and who lost the most of their original investment. If you do not let them buy parts of shares, be sure to let them add in their left-over money to their profit/loss.


Grade what you want. Give extra credit for the winners in each class if you want. I graded the neatness of their graphs and their math (calculating number of shares and the selling of those shares). For my lowest level classes, I gave a grade just for completing the assignment.

Supplemental information

Have an extra sheet stapled to their graph where the student provides you all pertinent information (cost on day one, number of shares bought, amount of money left over, cost on day sold, amount of money returned, profit, loss, whatever else comes to your mind)

I have never done 2 of these the same.


The shareware application NetStock is zipped in the file NetStock.zip and is for the Windows platform only. There may be a similar Mac application available.

Also, email me and let me know how this went for you. I would love some suggestions and feedback.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Civics and Economics

        • CE.E.3 Analyze the role of government and economic institutions in developing and implementing economic stabilization policies in the U.S. CE.E.3.1 Summarize basic macroeconomic indicators and how they vary over the course of a business cycle (e.g., gross...
        • CE.PFL.1.1 Analyze the concepts and factors that enable individuals to make informed financial decisions for effective resource planning. CE.PFL.1.1 Explain how education, income, career, and life choices impact an individual’s financial plan and goals (e.g.,...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 10

  • Goal 8: The learner will analyze features of the economic system of the United States.
    • Objective 8.07: Identify and describe the roles and functions of various economic institutions and business organizations.
    • Objective 8.08: Evaluate the investment decisions made by individuals, businesses, and the government.
  • Goal 9: The learner will analyze factors influencing the United States economy.
    • Objective 9.08: Analyze the influence of environmental factors, economic conditions, and policy decisions on individual economic activities.