We are continuous learners who are responsible, caring citizens in a global community.
Home:Curriculum Showcase:Middle School Features:Great Depression and the Stock Market

MS Feature - Great Depression & the Stock Market

The Curriculum Showcase celebrates thoughtful, well designed lessons that are being taught in District 95. Here we are showcasing what is being taught, how it exemplifies our District 95 mission, and how it ties the curriculum objectives to active learning. Read the summary below the slideshow to learn more.

Stock Market 1

Stock Market 2

Stock Market 3

Stock Market 4

Stock Market 5


Lindsay McMahon, Mackenzie Baidatsky, and Jackie Haney

Grade Level, Content Area
Eighth; Social Studies

Mission statement traits addressed 
• Pursue and engage in learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom
• Embrace challenges and opportunities; take risks
• Identify inquiry, analyze and evaluate information in order to draw conclusions and solve problems
• Work well with others to achieve goals
• Make informed decisions
• Explore individual and community connections which impact society

Local or state objectives addressed
15.A.3a Explain how market prices signal producers about what, how and how much to produce.
15.B.3b Explain the effects of choice and competition on individuals and the economy as a whole.
15.E.3b Explain how laws and government policies (e.g., property rights, contract enforcement, standard weights/measurements) establish rules that help a market economy function effectively.
16.D.3 Identify the origins and analyze consequences of events that have shaped world social history including famines, migrations, plagues, slave trading.


While studying the Great Depression, eighth grade Middle School North teachers, Lindsay McMahon, Jackie Haney, and Mackenzie Baidatsky, help students understand the impact of the Stock Market Crash on the United States economy through an interactive learning experience they call the Stock Market Portfolio Contest. Mrs. McMahon began using the Stock Market contest several years ago when it was a competition hosted by Smith Barney. Now it is used as a project-based lesson for all eighth grade MSN students.

“The Stock Market contest has completely changed the way I teach students about the 1920s/1930s and the economy in general. From the very beginning, students are actively engaged and challenged to think critically and outside-of-the-box. Changes in the economy and movement in the stock market are difficult concepts for students to understand; however, by allowing them to participate in a contest with their peers—and Mr. Richter—students are driven to master new skills and increase their financial literacy. Students can be heard in the lunch room and the hallway talking about stocks, companies, trends, and portfolios. Also, they are always excited to hear the now infamous “Stock Market Song” coming from Social Studies classrooms. Perhaps the best result of the contest is the conversations that students have with their parents about the stock market and the connections that are made from this shared interest,” said MSN eighth grade teacher Lindsay McMahon.

MSN Principal, Mark Richter supports and participates in project. Each year he chooses stocks for his competition portfolio along with the students. “The Stock Portfolio Contest is a fine example of curricula integration, higher order thinking, and real life application that addresses many of the 21st century skills so often referenced in conversations about American education. The students must utilize skills in reading, research, math, analysis, social studies, group collaboration and decision making, all while having fun with a spirited but light-hearted competition,” said Mr. Richter.

“The Stock Market contest is a valuable learning activity for the 8th grade students. Economics can be a difficult topic for students to understand. The topic generates little student enthusiasm without some creativity. Students are engaged by the competition and learn as a result. It is common to have students take the list of 25 companies home to their parents and have conversations about the strengths and weaknesses of each company. The students become very opinionated about the pros and cons of each potential share purchase and research their personal favorites to “prove” their point to classmates. When I asked whether the contest was worth the class time we spent on it, students enthusiastically responded with a “Yes- It is economics in real life!” Parents employed in the financial industry often volunteer their time as guest speakers. Mr. Coughenour was a guest speaker in my class this year; he gave an engaging overview of the stock market process,” said eighth grade teacher Jackie Haney.

“The skills and knowledge that students gain from this contest are evaluated in a number of different ways. Students take a summative test over the stock market terminology and concepts with the unit test on the 1920s/1930s. Also, we have many formative assessments of student learning through the three months. The assignments students complete when we update our class stock market portfolios monthly are our most important evidence of how we are doing,” said Mrs. McMahon.







©2020 Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95. All rights reserved | Web site design and development by Americaneagle.com|Site Map|Terms & Conditions|Privacy Policy|RSS