Girl Scouts take over the BELL

April 9, 2012

Lee Freeman leads Girl Scouts through an interactive lesson in the BELLLast month, two dozen Girl Scouts took over the trading room floor at University of Michigan-Dearborn, armed with $100,000 apiece.

The money, however, wasn’t real. It was part of a simulation Lee Freeman, associate professor of management information systems and associate dean of administration in the College of Business, put together in the Business Experiential Learning Laboratory (BELL).

Freeman’s wife, Kirste Moline, is the leader of their daughter’s troop, the Junior Troop from Dearborn Heights Montessori. She asked Freeman to conduct an interactive lesson to teach the girls about stocks and investing.

The BELL, a financial trading room that mirrors the experience of being on the trading floor, provided a perfect backdrop for their lesson.

“We talked about what a stock is and the different ways people pick stocks – news, research, personal preference, luck,” said Freeman.

Troop members used software that listed current values, trends and company information. Then, it was time to spend some money.

On March 16, each troop member started with a virtual $100,000 to invest. Participants can make up to 200 total trades as they build their portfolios. Stressing the importance of diversification, Freeman set a maximum of $10,000 invested into any one company.

The troop members are now three weeks into the five-week, web-based simulation.

“There are different levels of activity depending on the person,” said Freeman. “The ones who are into it are having fun. Some have asked their teachers if they can access their accounts during the day, so I’ll see trades being made during lunchtimes or recesses.”

The girls are giving Freeman and Moline a run for their money as they learn how to build their portfolios. Freeman and Moline are taking part in the competition; seven troop members currently rank ahead of both adults.

 

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