LEWISBURG, UNION COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- On Monday, the DOW tanked. As Wall Street watched in horror, a school district in Central PA used the downturn as a real life financial lesson.

In the Lewisburg School District, educators hope simulated investments pay real life dividends. Social studies teacher Tris West is running the “Stock Market Challenge” at Donald E. Eicchorn Middle School.

“When they start seeing the big picture and those light bulbs flickering it gets me excited knowing they understand that they can’t just go, buy video games, and not care what happens next,” he said.

The Stock Market Challenge pits students across 38 Pennsylvania counties against each other in a battle of financial wits.

“I’m very fortunate that every single sixth grade student gets to do it because not ever student gets to learn about financial literacy at home,” said West.

Teams of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders start with a hypothetical $100,000. The goal? To make money, of course.

“For the practice portfolio it’s a bit addicting,” said sixth grader Erin Lowthert.

“It really just teaches you about financial strategies and things early on and that’s really nice,” said seventh grader Matthew Chen.

Chen is a seventh grader at the middle school and won the challenge within his division last fall. He says the game is already helping him in real life.

“I use it because I’m actually trying to start my own account on E-Trade or something like that.”

One of the strategies students use is “shorting their stocks,” which is the process of borrowing a stock, selling it, and then pocketing the proceeds.

“For me, it’s good because no every kid in other schools shorts, so my kids aren’t just limited to doing one thing,” said West.

“I ended up with around $80,000 more than I started with,” said Chen. “I started with $100,000 and mainly how id id that was just shortened.”

While the competition is all fun and games, both teachers and students say this will help them be financially stable in the long run.

“It’s quite important because if we didn’t, college funds would be more and we would be more in debt for college and things like that,” said Lowthert.

The Stock Market Challenge will wrap up on April 13 with prizes for teams, divisions, and teachers.