Teacher Starter Guide

HowTheMarketWorks teacher starter guide

HowTheMarketWorks is the fastest-growing free stock market game for a reason – we put teachers first! Before you get started on HowTheMarketWorks, however, we want to make sure you are aware of our ad-free Financial Literacy Games for Students site (PersonalFinanceLab.com) that features both our personal budgeting/banking game and our our stock market game all in one.

Otherwise, to get your first class contest up and running on HowTheMarketWorks, we want to get you familiar with some of the awesome features waiting for both you and your students once trading gets started!

Step 1: Create Your Class Contest

Your first step is to create your Class Contest. This is where you choose how your class stock game will work – pick how much cash to give each student to start, the dates for your contest, how much commission to charge, and more. Once your contest is set up, you will get a unique registration link to share with your students – this will let them choose a username and password, and add them to your class contest.

If you aren’t sure what settings to use, we make it easy – the default settings for all rules will give you a great class experience, right out of the box!

Step 2: Add Assignments

Once your contest is set up, the next step is creating your first “Assignment”.

An Assignment is a list of tasks that you require your students to complete. This can include watching tutorial videos, reading articles, using financial calculators, and placing different types of trades. You can have multiple Assignments, each with its own start dates and due dates.

We recommend all classes have at least one assignment requiring students to watch basic portfolio tutorial videos and read about a few of the essential investing terms, giving each student the knowledge they need to start building their portfolio.

Step 3: Using Reports

After your students start building their portfolio and progressing through their assignments, you can monitor their progress with the Teacher Reports.

The most detailed reports are embedded into the Rankings page – next to each student, click the “View” button to see their current holdings, all previous trades, and all the Trade Notes they made so far during the class contest.

You can find more reports from the “My Contests” page. Click “Manage Assignments” to create a new Assignment, or see student progress on one that is already posted. You can also Download all class data into one place – giving you a single spreadsheet listing each student’s trade history, current holdings, account balances, and more.

Now What?

Once your class is up and running, just distribute the unique registration link you got when you created your class to your students. Don’t worry about writing it down – we will automatically email you a copy of it, and you can find it again any time by clicking “Invite Others” on the “My Contests” page.

As your class gets moving, add new assignments, lasting a week or two each. These work great either as in-class activities or homework. Pick activities that line up best with your class activities for the week, while watching your students compete and learn!


Start Here

FAQ section on the "Start Here" teacher info page

Can I remove all ads for my class?
We keep HTMW free by having sponsorships from the brokerage industry throughout the site. However, we do have an ad-free version available that features more standards-aligned lessons AND a personal budgeting, banking, credit and debt financial literacy game on our PersonalFinanceLab.com site. PersonalFinanceLab also features more security types like bonds and mutual funds, more teacher tools, and more activities for students. If you are interested in getting PersonalFinanceLab for your school, you can find more details by clicking here.
How do my students get into my class?

Once you set up your class contest, we will give you a unique registration link to share with your students. Clicking this link (while not already logged in) will take your students to the Registration Page, where they will create their username and password, and join into your class.

If your students register on their own, or already used HTMW in a previous class, they can also log into their account before clicking the link. This will add your Class Contest to their existing account.

How much class time should I allocate to HTMW?

It depends on your class! The first time you use HTMW, you should probably allocate about an hour a week of in-class computer time as you get familiar with the website, and familiar with the types of questions your students ask.

Once you are more comfortable with managing your class, you can reduce the amount of in-class time, but start making more homework assignments for students to work on from home.

We survey all teachers at the end of the semester – teachers are generally split evenly on how much class time they dedicate in-class, and how much time they expect their students to spend on the stock game from home.

I am concerned about student privacy. What protections do you have for student data?

We take personal data very seriously. To use HTMW, all we require is students to choose a username and password, and provide their first name (so you as the teacher know which username belongs to which student). All other fields, like last name, email address, and age are entirely optional (however, if students do not specify an email address, it can make it more difficult to reset their password if they lose it).

If your students are under 13, we will not ever store any personal data, except their first name and the first letter of their last name (just so you can identify each student).

I have two sections of a class. Should I make one contest, or separate contests for each?

It depends! From the student’s perspective, using just one contest means they will see their rankings across both sections. If the students know each other, this can be a great way to promote competition.

On the other hand, creating separate contests for each class will help you keep your records separate, since you will have separate reports for each class. How you run your class is entirely up to you!

I heard HTMW has tons of investment research tools too. Where can I find these?

You heard correctly! We have a huge library of research tools available for your class as well, including:

  • Detailed quotes, charts, and news for every stock
  • Analyst ratings and historical prices
  • Income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements going back 5 years
  • SEC filings and company information
  • Sector analysis tool showing the biggest companies by industry in the economy
  • Economic calendar showing upcoming events, like Fed meetings
  • Earnings reports, financial ratios, and much more

You can find all of our research tools by clicking “Quotes” on the main menu, or by clicking here.

My students made a mistake in their portfolio. Can they start over?

Absolutely! We have two ways to do this.

First, when you create your class, we have a rule “Do you want to let your students reset their portfolios”. If you choose yes, all of your students can reset their portfolios at any time back to the starting position.

If you do not let students reset whenever they like, you can still reset any student yourself by going to your Class Rankings page – each student will have a Reset button next to their username that will let you reset their account.

More Questions?