I currently teach a fairly able Maths group, it’s mainly Year 4 with four Year 3 children in it too. We’ve worked very hard this year and made great progress but I wanted to explore with a few different challenges and projects as the year draws to a close. Recently we ran our own businesses and I wanted to try something new. I had a few ideas, but I took to Twitter to see what others had in mind.

One that I hadn’t thought of was mentioned by Ben Barton from Zondle and then again by @thisisliamm – buying and selling shares. Now, I have to admit that I am not an expert in this area but it seemed like something we could do without too much hard work.

The idea is that each group has £1000 to invest in a range of companies. I limited this to 6, but most stuck to 3-4 companies. We used the real-time website: http://shareprices.com/ftse100 for the prices and I set about explaining the concept.

The children decided how many shares to buy and then they added it to the Google Spreadsheet that I had setup. I had already created the formula the children would need (number of shares x cost per share) so that on day one, they could focus on the buying. Actual maths work would come in day 2. We were also limited by time with each lesson being around 50 minutes long.

They were also encouraged to buy in multiples of 10, except for when they were spending the last of their money and might have to buy a different amount.

On Day 2, I prepared a table on paper with various columns for them to work out the profit/loss per share. They then had to multiply this by the number of shares.

For example, Tesco went down by 12p per share, and I had 50 so 12p x 50 was a £6.00 loss. We then added up the profit/loss totals for an overall figure. so far the winning child has made a profit of £1.60 and all but two have made a loss! The biggest loss being around £14. I am wondering if using a real-time website, with live prices is the best idea. I have an inkling that prices fluctuate a lot during the day and settle at the close, so for Day 3, I am printing the prices instead. This will also mean that I don’t need to get netbooks out, we can go straight into our maths books. Also, rather than working out the profit/loss per share, the children were relying on the +/- figure on the website which led to LOTS of confusion!

So far, it’s quite interesting in a number of ways. For example, EasyJet’s shares are 1267p which many worked out to be £1.26 rather than £12.67. So we have had to remind about dividing by 100.

I’m not sure how long we’ll do this, my guess is another two days, then check maybe once a week to see how we’re doing. It is fun to see the children out of their comfort zone though.

Oh…after the first day I am £3.96 down…

Liam’s blog post is here.