“So, with so many people setting up their brackets, let’s look at making one based on math. YES! MATH! Is this how we should be setting it up anyway? We know some people use math when filling out their bracket, but their biases do show through. Well, here are the lessons that we will be doing tomorrow in class…What’s even better about this assignment? It includes writing and geography. YES! Cross-curricular!!! It can be done.”
I love using current events to direct my lessons. Yes, March Madness during basketball season creates lots of excitement, even if you aren’t into basketball. My hubby and I don’t watch a lot of basketball all season but once the NCAA tournament starts, we fill out our brackets and compete against each other.
I love to involve my students and have them help me pick out the winners for my bracket. It involves a lot of friendly discussion and debate and is a lot of fun. I liked to stir the discussion into what determines a winner in my student’s eyes. Of course this leads into statistics, player strengths, team strengths and other things I had never thought of. They love knowing that I’m interested in their opinions on this and will base my decisions on whether they can convince me to pick the team they are pulling for.
My students like to follow my picks and determine the percentage of winners that I got correct. This would also be a great class project if each student filled in the bracket.
Sometimes I have them write a paragraph telling me who they think the ultimate winner will be and give supporting details for their pick. This is a great exercise for persuasive writing.
I think it would also be fun for them to write a letter to their favorite player, team, or coach. If they don’t have a favorite, have them write a letter to a team asking them to move to their hometown.
I like the idea of finding out where each team they like is located for a geography lesson too. Many of my students have heard of the teams but have no idea where they are located so this would be a great way to “sneak” in some learning! It would be fun to determine the distance to the different tournament sites or to the location of each team from the student’s home. Some teams have players from other countries and it would be fun to learn more about that country.
As Anthony mentioned of course, this whole big event can be used to teach so many different math skills.
How are you using March Madness in the classroom? Please share.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original image: 'Hoops'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/15790252@N06/3668398063 by: Arturo Donate