Teachers Guide


HowTheMarketWorks is a completely free resource for your classroom, you can create a custom investment challenge for your class in about 5 minutes! Since you can set all the rules to what best suits your class’s needs, it can be an occasional “homework” project, or the centerpiece of your Savings and Investments unit, whatever your class has time for! There will never be any cost to you, and you can use it as long as you wish. If you ever have suggestions or problems please let us know at 1-800-786-8725 or 514-871-2222.

This is our handy guide on getting your class started in about 5 minutes, along with covering any extra questions you might have about managing your contest once it is running.

Getting Started

Step One: Register For Free!

Everyone (including teachers, professors, and students) can always register for free on HowTheMarketWorks.
Registration takes about 30 seconds, and you will be automatically logged in. If you need a guide, watch this video on how to register:

Step 2: Create Your Custom Contest

After registering, Click Here to create a Private Classroom Contest with a contest password. Here you will be asked to set the start and stop date of your trading, the initial cash balance you want your students to start with, and other trading variables like commission rates. You can have your trading last anywhere from one day to one year—it’s totally up to you!
If you aren’t sure what to set for your class, don’t worry! We have default settings that we find are most popular with teachers, and you can always come back and edit your rules later.
Watch this video on how to create your a custom stock trading game for your class:

Step 3: Get Your Students Into Your Class!

After creating your private contest, You will get a confirmation page, and a confirmation email, with the unique link that will take your students directly to your class page. Email it to your students, put it on your class website or facebook page, or write it on the board while your students are at a computer, and they will be registered directly into your class!
If you want to set up HowTheMarketWorks as an after school project, and your students do not have an email address, they can also go to our Contests homepage and search for the contest using the Contest Name.

  • Students click the Join Contest button, which directs them to register on our site.
  • After registering, the students can join the contest using the contest password.
  • The contest leaderboard can then be seen on the Contest Status page.

If you lose your link, or can’t find the email, just ask our support team at the “Live Chat” button to the lower right to look it up for you.

The way this link works is that if someone who isn’t logged in clicks it, they will be taken to the registration page where they pick their username and password, then they are joined into your contest. If you click it while you’re logged in as the teacher, it won’t do anything. If you want to show your students how to register, click “Log Out’ at the top of the screen first!

Step 4: Create an Assignment!

Once your stock game is set up, you can forward the invite link to your students and have them start trading right away, but you can also add an “Assignment” to your class to add some more structure.

An Assignment is a list of tasks you give your students, including things like watching tutorial videos, reading educational articles, or placing certain types of trades.

Click Here To Learn More About Assignments

Help! I’m teaching personal finance, or about the stock market, for the first time, and don’t know where to begin!

You’re not alone! We have new teachers every semester that are not quite sure where to begin, but we have tons of resources available that will make you an expert in no time!

Lesson Plans

If you are looking for lesson plans, we have over 45 to browse through on a variety of personal finance, investments, and math subjects, divided by topic and grade level. We also included ways to use HowTheMarketWorks with almost every lesson, so your students will have a great way to tie everything together. Click here to browse our collection of lesson plans!


We always love giving teachers a full tour of the site, and helping you find the best way to integrate HowTheMarketWorks with your classroom. Near the beginning of each school session, we usually schedule several, but if you don’t see one coming up (or can’t make it to one that is), just let our team know and we will be happy to give you a personal tour. Click here for our webinar schedule!

Our Investing Crash Course

The first time you teach investing or personal finance can be very stressful, especially if the topics are outside your comfort zone. To help beginning investors master all the basics, we have created the Investing101 Course. The course is divided into 10 chapters about investing, designed to help someone with little to no previous finance or investing knowledge acquire the skills they need to start investing on their own.

Teachers have frequently registered for the course to brush up before (or while!) teaching about investing for the first time, and you would be free to use any of our materials in your classroom. We even include activities that make use of the HowTheMarketWorks stock market game to practice what you’re learning in the real world. Unlike our other resources, the Investing101 course is not free, but we give teachers a 50% discount, just use the coupon code “TEACH-HTMW“. Click Here to see the beginners investing course!

Get Outside Help

Another great idea to help you get started is to visit your local bank or brokerage office and ask if one of their licensed stock brokers could come into your class and talk to them about the stock market and what they would do if they were given a brand new brokerage account with a large cash balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my students don’t have email addresses?

We do not require an email address to register. However, students who do not use a valid email address may have a hard time recovering their password if they forget it.

Do you have any prizes for students?

Yes! If you want to give the winner of your contest a certificate of their achievement, Click Here for a template you can download.

If you want to give a participation certificate to everyone who took part in your contest, you can Click here for a Participation Certificate.

There is also HTMW branded gear in our Shop that you can give away to your students.

We also have monthly contests open to all users, with $500 in more we give out as prizes. You and your students are encouraged to participate and win money for a great class pizza party! Click Here for more details.

A student forgot his/her email address or password. What do we do?

Every user can use our Forgot Password feature to recover their password by email. If the user did not use a valid email address when registering, they will need to Contact Support

How long is the trading period for the students?

Each teacher/professor sets the length of the trading period so it is totally up to you! We recommend that you describe the stock market project to your students and give them at least a week to think about what stocks they might want to buy, do some research, ask their parents, read the Wall Street Journal, etc. before you ask them to start trading. There are also tons of trading ideas in our Education Center and “Trading Ideas” section on the top menu bar.

Is there a way for me to keep track of student’s activities outside the classroom?

Class time is sometimes scarce, so we have added a number of ways for teachers to keep track of their students while using HowTheMarketWorks as a homework assignment, or just have everything organized in one place. The best ways to take advantage of this is with our Teacher features:

  • Assignments: You can create assignments for your students to complete. These range from watching tutorial videos on how to place trades and use the site to making a certain number of trades, and even reading articles about stocks and mutual funds, or using an interactive calculator to see how to effectively save. As the teacher, you will get a report showing each student’s progress on each assignment item. You can create as many assignments as you like, with any items you want to track. Click Here for more information.
  • Teacher Reports: On the class Rankings page, you can see the current open positions, trades, and account balances of all students in your class. You can also remove students who do not belong, or reset accounts.
  • Downloading Reports: You can also download all your class reports straight to excel for all students at once. On the Contests page, just click “Download Rankings and Registrations” for an excel file with all trades, account balances, and more information for every student.

When does the trading period begin?

Each teacher/professor sets the beginning date and ending date of their class trading period, so you can have your students trade for one day, one week, one month, one year or any time period you want!

What time is the stock market open?

The U.S. stock markets all open at 9:30 am ET and close at 4pm ET. Trades placed when the markets are closed will be executed at the next morning opening prices. Mutual funds are different: trades placed before 4pm will execute that night (usually around 6pm), trades placed after 4pm will execute the next business day.

Can the students see their performance and class rankings?

Yes, after the students have registered and made at least one trade, each student’s portfolio value and ranking will appear in the Contest Rankings page.

How do I extend the contest or change its settings?

Go to the My Contests page and click “edit contest” next to the contest you want to change the rules for.

My students are brand new to the stock market. How do I help the get started?

We have tons of resources for that! First, they can check out our Trading Ideas page to get a quote and news from companies they already know, and see if those companies have been gaining or losing value. They can also visit our Education Center where we include articles for complete beginners, we take current market news and provide background information on beginners on how real-world events interact with savings and investing, and showcase popular Glossary terms and interactive calculators!

If you as the teacher registered for the Investing101 course, you can also share our beginners investing materials with your class.

More Information

You can also get more information from our webinars and support team!
Our Support Team makes sure to respond to all issues within 1 business day, Click Here to ask a question!. You can also call them directly at 1-800-786-8725 or 514-871-2222.

We also frequently have webinars were we have teachers get together with our support team to walk through the site and ask questions! Click Here to see the current schedule.

Other Important Notes:

Please make sure students Log Out every time they leave the classroom! Otherwise, the next person at the computer will be logged into the previous account.