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How to Incorporate March Madness into Your Classroom


If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! March madness is well underway but rather than fight your student’s interest in the NCAA basketball tournaments, make the most of it! We’ve cultivated our favorite top seven resources and ways to integrate basketball and the tournament into your lesson plan. Click on the title heading for additional details on facilitating the project/lesson plan.

1. Figure the Winner

Students use math to predict the winners of the NCAA basketball tournaments (gr. 9-12). Students 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 (Gr 6-8, 9-12). This lesson will teach students 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 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. As part of the voting, students are only allowed to participate in the vote if they’ve read the two books facing off. To make sure everyone has access to the books, put any copies of the books on your shelves. As students finish these favorites, they’ll return them to the stands for others to read. In addition to voting for the best books, students will also fill out their own bracket predicting the winners.  For more information on setting up your own tournament of books, click here.

4. Research & Debate-Based Tournament

In this lesson, students 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 come up with a question that is relevant to what they are studying in your class, then come up with eight topics for your debate tournament. Along the way, students write essays about the last two topics standing. 

5. Nothing but Net: The Science of Shooting Hoops

The goal of this project 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 shoot baskets from chest height, chin height and over the head.

6. Basketball Printables

basketball printables are excellent activities for kids to enjoy their favorite sport. Printables included are word searches, a shape maze, counting mazes, dot to dot printables, basketball coloring pages, preschool tracing worksheets, cryptogram puzzles and other fun worksheets for kids.

7.Internet Scavenger Hunt

Find out the history of basketball with this fun Scavenger Hunt. Features a pdf printable version and answer key worksheet. Have students work individually or in teams to search the internet for the answers to the questions.

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