Thursday, March 9, 2017

March Madness & Why It Should Be a Classroom Topic

March Madness is such a fun time in the year for all athletes and competitors alike. Although it is mainly an athletic focus, there is no reason that you can't discuss it in class or even participate in the madness. There are many easy ways to incorporate March Madness that are low prep and a lot of education opportunities as well.

One easy way to bring it into your classroom is to fill out brackets! It doesn't matter how much your students know about basketball, the statistics show there is rarely one perfect bracket in the tens of thousands that get filled out every year. This chart talks about how many people actually picked the final four teams correctly! See - no pressure! Just use is as a fun activity. If you want to get really deep - talk about the probability of having a perfect bracket.

Reading the NCAA March Madness page will tell you all about how you can score your brackets. One of the best parts about having the students fill out the brackets is the friendly competition that happens each morning when the students come in to update their brackets.

You could also use the March Madness schools as a geography activity. Have students research where the schools in the brackets are from and have them pinpoint them on a map. Talk about which states have strong basketball teams this year, how many schools are from each area or what states aren't represented at all.

Mascots are also a fun part of March Madness. Look up the mascots for each school and talk about how they each tie into the school that they are from. There are some fun stories behind why certain schools have the mascots that they do.

Talk about character. In all basketball games, there is a winner and a loser. How do you keep your character and be a good sport when you win and when you lose? How can you win graciously, but still celebrate the victory. If you are cheering against a friend who likes a different team than you, how can you both cheer on your team without putting down the other team/player/friend?

Start a class basketball team. You don't actually have to play basketball (but how fun would that be), but have the students name their school, pick a mascot and create a uniform - because there are some pretty awesome uniforms out there! If you don't want it to get too intense, order a little over-the-door basketball hoop and create a bracket of students in your classroom. Have them see who can make the most shots from areas all of the room. If you want to go low key, you can also just use paper and a trash can!

Speaking of shooting challenges in class - use this activity above to create a math lesson. You could create charts and graphs based on shots made. You could also turn fractions (shots made over shots attempted) into percentages to see your classes shot percentage. Learning about geometry and shapes? Talk about the surface area of basketballs and other athletic balls. Boom! Math lesson.

So throw a basketball game up on the Smart Board while your students are working and join in the fun.

Enjoy the Madness,

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