SMS stands for Stock Market Simulation. The word simulation means that the SMS is more than just a game. It is a tool that teachers can use to help instruct their students in the world of economics, finance, current events, math, social studies, and technology.
The SMS was designed by Stock-Trak, Inc., a company that has been producing a college level simulation used by over 700 professors and approximately 40,000 students worldwide for over 10 years. The SMS was first offered 4 years ago as a high school level simulation. The SMS is offered by state Councils/Centers on Economic Education and by local newspapers. The simulation is administered by Stock-Trak, Inc and offered by the National Centers on Economic Education. Today there are 17 states using the SMS with approximately 20,000 teams a semester, and approximately 200,000 students playing each year. If you have any questions about the National SMS, please call the contact person for your center or the SMS help desk at 1-866-SMS-DESK.
The SMS is offered by the National Centers on Economic Education. If you would like to participate in the SMS, please visit the homepage for your center and click on the registration page. This is a statewide/regional competition in which you will compete against other classes registered with your center and throughout the state of National. If you have any questions about registration, please call the SMS Help Desk at 1-866-767-3375.
Your team numbers and passwords are issued via the Internet after you submit your registration. Please read the registration form carefully and do not hit enter until you have completely filled out the form.
Once you receive your team numbers and your simulation begins, you may start trading. Your team number and password must be entered correctly each time you begin a new session or you will not be allowed to trade. If you wish to change your team number or password please call either the SMS Help Desk. Please remember to keep your password confidential.
The National SMS is a wonderful tool for teaching economics, finance, current events, math, social studies, and technology. The National Centers on Economic Education have developed teacher workshops where teachers are taught to use the web page and offered suggestions for teacher lesson plans. For more guidance in this area, the SMS offers several links to information the teacher could use to help teach economics (not just the stock market) in his/her class. Some examples of this include "SMS Basics," "Educational Links,"and "Lessons Plans."
On the "Lesson Plans" page we have pulled together some lesson plans offered by the National Council on Economic Education. We feel that these lesson plans will help students, from different grade levels, learn about the field of economics and become more financially educated adults. If you would like to contribute lesson plans to this list there is information on this page you will find invaluable.
In order to make a trade the first important step is to have your students choose a few companies that they think are going to perform well over the trading period. Students can get ideas for companies from just about everywhere. The obvious places are their local newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, the evening news, and the main financial web sites. But students can also get ideas by looking around their house, the shopping mall, and their school. Ask your students to think about what goods or services they see everyone using and enjoying. Students are often a good source of what's "in" and what's "out", and what's hot and what's not.
Once your students have chosen a few companies, encourage them to research those companies to make sure they really want to trade their stock. The SMS web site offers a research page with links that should help in the research of any company. From the research page, a student can find information about a company's ticker symbol, a current quote on the stock, a chart of the historical performance of the stock, financial statements, broker and analyst comments, and earning forecasts and other types of information that affect the price.
Once your students have selected a stock to trade, they must know the ticker symbol of the company to trade it. The ticker symbol is a one to five digit code for a publicly traded company, which is used by investors to trade the securities of that company. There are a couple of locations where students can find ticker symbols:
Examples of tickers: "KO" for Coca Cola, "IBM" for IBM, "MSFT" for Microsoft
There are two methods for making a trade. First, trades may be made on the National SMS web site. To use the web site go to the National SMS homepage. Click on "Trade Stocks." Once you have opened this page read the rules at the top. These rules remind you that trades can only be made in multiples of 25, stocks under $5.00 cannot be purchased, and no trade can exceed $25,000. Fill in all areas of the form, including the team number, password, email address (if you do not have an email address, please enter a phone number), what kind of trade you want to make, the number of shares you want to trade, and the ticker symbol. Once all of this information has been entered click on "Submit Trade Request."
To make a trade via fax, you must have the correct "fax trade form." On this form please fill out all of the necessary information. The teachers name and signature must be on each form. When entering the trade information be sure to include your team number, password, type of trade number of shares, ticker symbol, and company name. If you do not enter the company name your trade may not be placed.
For a more hands-on example on how to place the trade, please use the stock tutorial.
However infrequent, problems do arise with the SMS. Different problems include:
The SMS coordinator at your Center for Economic Education can answer questions regarding registration and payment. These types of questions can sometimes be answered by information on the web page. Questions regarding dates for the SMS are addressed on your custom web page, or by calling your state SMS Coordinator. The only questions that should be directed to the SMS Help line are those dealing with your account information or problems in your account. The SMS Help line (1-866-SMS-DESK) is a toll-free number and should only be used by teachers.