The Chalk Blog

5 Ways to Incorporate March Madness Into Your Classroom

Slam Dunk Ideas!

March Madness

This blog post was originally published on March 18, 2016, but it was so well received that we wanted to freshen it up and share it again. Enjoy!

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! March Madness will soon be underway, but rather than fight your student’s interest in the NCAA basketball tournament, incorporate it into your lessons! We’ve put together 5 of our favorite resources for integrating the NCAA tournament into your math, science, reading or social studies period.  Go ahead and try one out.  It might just be a slam dunk!! 

1. Figure the Winner

Students use math to predict the winners of the NCAA basketball tournaments. Students (gr. 9-12) will practice calculating percentage, average, mean, median and more. All you need for this lesson is the tournament pairings chart for men and/or women. 

2. The Team at Home

Students locate an NCAA basketball tournament team on a map, research the relationships of the team’s name and mascot to the location of the college and cheer their team to victory. This lesson will teach students (Gr 6-8, 9-12) about the geography of a variety of areas as they research how team names and mascots are related to history and/or geography. 

3. Book Madness: A Tournament of Books

Instead of picking the favorite teams to advance, why not set up a book bracket and have your students (Gr K-8) pick their favorite books? Ask your school librarian to run a list of the top 16 books most commonly checked-out. Place the books into a bracket starting at the sweet 16 and ask kids to vote. In addition to voting for the best books, students will also fill out their own bracket predicting the winners.  Teach reading in the older grades?  Check out this tournament example for a HS Literature class. 

4. Research & Debate-Based Tournament

In this lesson, students (Gr 9-12) will use the March Madness bracket structure to decide a question in their field of study, hold a research-and debate-based “tournament” to determine the “winners” of each round, until a final “winner’ is declared. Have students come together to decide on a question that is relevant to what they are studying in your class, then come up with eight topics for your debate tournament. To wrap up the activity, students write essays about the last two topics standing.  

5. Nothing but Net: The Science of Shooting Hoops

The goal of this experiment is to determine if the ball’s starting position for shooting a basketball affects a player’s shooting percentage. In this project, you’ll measure shooting percentage when players (Gr 6-12) shoot baskets from chest height, chin height and over the head.  A great active lesson for those that have access to a gym or outdoor play space. 

Do you want more ideas to incorporate into your classroom? Check out some of our wonderful Learners Edge Continuing Education Courses!

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