From the Classroom of…Eric Bartosh, Valley Middle School

We recently had the opportunity to interview Eric Bartosh, a middle-school social studies teacher at Valley Middle School of STEM in Apple Valley. Eric shared insight on his experiences with The Stock Market Game and why he finds it to be so valuable for his Social Studies classes.

Q: How does The Stock Market Game align with the curriculum you teach in your Social Studies classes?

The SMG helps me talk about topics like making informed decisions and how the interaction of buyers (through demand) and sellers (through supply) determines price in a market. We talk about scarcity and how that relates to price.  We talk about making informed economic choices by identifying their goals and timelines.  I’ve had several students ask me if it’s possible for them to begin investing real money, now.  I am able to teach U.S. history and mention money and markets throughout every unit and bring it up to today.  For example, I show how the United States shifted from its agrarian roots into an industrial and global power, the rise of big business, urbanization and immigration led to institutionalized racism, ethnic and class conflict and new efforts at reform. (Development of an Industrial United States: 1870-1920).

Q: How does SMG help students better engage with what you’re teaching?

They are able to see results in stock prices that correlate to current events.  Positive news brings an increased stock price.  Negative news usually leads to a decrease in stock price. We are able to discuss the surrounding political and social environment of the markets and how they are influenced by what is going on in the country and in the world.

Q: Why is SMG a good fit for your Social Studies class?

The SMG is a great fit for my Social Studies class because it helps me connect current events to historical events and how things like over-extending on credit can lead to economic downturns.  I love how it develops vocabulary like nest egg, compound interest, bull/bear market, the Dow Jones and that it gives them an inside track to saving and investing on their own.  Students are empowered to learn, make decisions and take risks that hopefully lead to positive financial results.

Q: Why would you recommend other teachers and schools use The Stock Market Game with their students?

I would recommend other teachers to use the SMG with their students because it provides a great connection to the real world.  Getting started is easy and monitoring progress is fun.  Kids are able to see their ranking and tend to pay closer attention to what is happening in the news.  Finally, the SMG staff has been great to work with in all areas.  They genuinely want to provide the most positive educational experience possible.

Bio: Eric Bartosh, Valley Middle School of STEM

This is Eric’s 20th year of teaching middle school.  Before becoming a teacher, Eric was an Insurance and Investment Consultant with the Columns Resource Group (Storms Agency) of Northwestern Mutual in Minneapolis.  While he worked in the Insurance and Investment field, he saw the power of compound interest, the importance of avoiding credit card debt and the value of starting a savings and investment plan at an early age.  He has used the Stock Market Game in 8th grade English to help teach non-fiction reading skills as well as in 7th grade American History to talk about the Great Depression, Supply and Demand and Economic cycles.  He loves to help his students research stocks and discuss and interpret trends and decide where to put their money.  He has 3 kids of his own and has started savings accounts, mutual funds and college accounts for each of them.

Educators can learn more about the Stock Market Game and register online.