The Stock Market Game

The life of a thirteen year old revolves around wants, needs, scarcity, and opportunity costs…Huh?  What I mean is, everyday you wake up and prioritize your life into categories of things you want to have, need to have, things you can’t get, and things you can get but aren’t willing to get. 


The things you WANT to have, called “wants” are usually material things like iPods, PSPs, DVDs, outfits, etc. or socially motivated things like the coolest friends, the best place to sit at lunch, the cutest boyfriend, etc.


The things you NEED to have, called “needs” are things that you can not live without like food, water, clothes, and shelter.  The word “need” is frequently misused to mean “really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really want”.


SCARCITY refers to how available the objects of our wants and needs are.  For example, we need air to survive.  Without it, we would die.  Since air is everywhere, it is free.  Imagine that air was escaping from our atmosphere but someone came up with a device to bottle air to provide people with a source of life.  How much would those bottles of air cost?  Who would be able to afford them? 


Unlike air, most things we want and need have a limited supply, therefore they have a greater COST.  “Cost” refers to what someone has to give up, or trade, for whatever it is they want or need.  Sometimes, cost means money.  But very often cost can mean time, effort, social life, grades, etc.  Sometimes cost refers to a combination of things given up.  The more scarce something is, the higher the cost tends to be.  For example, lots of people want to have an “iPod”.  Because Apple makes fewer iPods than what people want, the dollar value of an average two gig nano is about $150.  Some people might say that the cost is $150.  The reality is, that the cost of the nano is all of the babysitting, doing dishes, skipped clothes shopping trips, skipped movies, and not buying all of the other things that cost $150.  The cost of getting good grades in school might be not hanging out with friends, not going to the movies, not riding your skateboard, not getting a babysitting job, and not getting an iPod.


Purpose:  The Stock Market Game project is designed to help you get a better understanding of wants, needs, scarcity, and opportunity costs, by having you research and “invest” in real companies based on their ability to perform in today’s world.  You will also become familiar with using Microsoft Excel software to track your spending and earning of money, create graphs, charts, and algebraic formulas.  You will further develop your skills in PowerPoint and Internet research.