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Teaching Guide

Teaching Corporations & Stocks

Insider tips on teaching.


The stock market can be baffling. There are bulls, there are bears, and it all seems to be run by a lot of greed, which just might be good? You'll definitely want to make sense all of it, transforming the stock market from some sort of crazy code into something comprehensible.

In this guide you won't find insider trading tips (sorry, Martha), but you will find

  • resources like online stock simulations and IPOs of major tech companies like Google and Facebook (tip: don't invest in MySpace).
  • vocabulary activities so students know the difference between bull and bear markets (and remember that "jigging out" isn't just for Will Smith).
  • investment activities that won't land anyone in jail…hopefully.

Our teaching guide won't make you rich, but it will provide you with a wealth of learning opportunities.

What's Inside Shmoop's Economics Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring economics to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 4-10 activities to complete in class with your students, with detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes to be sure students are looking at the material through various lenses.
  • Resources to help make the topic feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop’s teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the topic and how you can overcome the hurdles.

Instructions for You

1. Explain to your students that an IPO is the Initial Public Offering of a company that was previously held privately. That is, prior to the release of its IPO, a corporation's stock is not sold to the public. Instead, it is held by an individual or small group of people.

Usually, small, privately held corporations decide to go public in order to raise operating and investment capital.

Some investors specialize in IPOs, even though IPOs can be very risky. IPOs have no market track record; the public perception of the stock, and therefore its value, has not yet been established. They can, however, be very lucrative, climbing in price rapidly, sometimes doubling and tripling in value on the day of their release.

2. Have your students read about and analyze the prospects for these three recent IPOs.

  • Facebook: IPO released in May 2012 at $38 per share.

3. Then direct your students to any online stock market page, such as Yahoo Finance, to see how the IPO performed.

Instructions for Your Students

Do you know what an IPO is? You should if you want to be a player. There are huge profits in these first-time-on-the-market stocks, but also huge risks. Do you think you can pick a winner? What do you think about these?

  • Facebook: IPO released in May 2012 at $10 per share.

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