Every Friday, FlexSchool students participate in a series of experiential, hands-on learning opportunities through speakers, field trips, and programming. “FlexFridays” are an essential part of the school’s core values: to have schools embedded in the community and to discover the interconnectedness of everything.
Earlier this year, math teacher Michael Steiner, a former Wall Street commodities trader, created one of those hands-on classes to help the multi-age students really understand how prediction and probability work. They examined how prediction markets are created in order to predict the outcome of events. Since market prices can indicate what traders think the probability of the event will be, there were lots of good examples for the class to explore.
Utilizing the game Wits & Wagers to create a trading market, students bought and sold shares based on their own predictions. After each game, the students analyzed those predictions and the outcomes. Steiner notes that when he and co-teacher Foster Brooks saw how well the students did at both understanding and trading commodities, “We wondered why we had congratulated ourselves on our skill for all those years.”
“Learning about probability has never been so loud and entertaining!” says FlexSchool’s Founder, Jacqui Byrne.
A FlexSchool academic goal is to encourage independent learning, critical thinking, and curiosity. Wyatt, one of Steiner’s students, says the exercise was “quite enjoyable, and really piqued my interest in economics and trading. Almost immediately after the class I did some reading about perspective markets on my own.”