Anyone have ideas on ways to connect college basketball's March Madness to math class? I'm thinking this could be a nice break, that the kids could get interested in, especially during all the test prep/standardized test work right now. Any ideas? I've searched online, but couldn't find anything really good for 4-6th grade.

Once the sweet 16 bracket is in place, you could easily integrate it into a probability unit. Everyone could chose a team that they favor and figure the probability that they'll make it to the final four and that they'll win, the probability that a team with a certain kind of mascot will win (like an animal, starts with a certain letter, etc.), a team from a certain state, etc. They could even help come up with some of the specified outcomes.

I think it's a great idea, but be very careful to disconnect it from all the gambling that takes place with March Madness.

Yeah good point. It might be something I run by the principal before implementing, just to make sure its okay. As long as the focus on probability is there, I would think it would be okay.

Team/player stats could be used in place of betting type stats. For example: The probability of Player X making a free throw is 0.25. Player Y fouls Player X, which gives him two chances to make a free throw. What is the probability that Player X will score on both free throw attempts? What is the probability he will score only once? What is the probability that he will score on neither throw?

I am REALLY liking this...I have honestly been avoiding teaching probability and stats to my 8th grade, because it is definitely my weakest area...but I have a basketball crazed class, and I can see them getting very involved in this!

We have been studying conversion of fractions and decimals to percent. I have a substitute teacher covering my class tomorrow and she suggested a great basketball-style game/activity for the class. She calls it "trasketball". Class can be divided into teams, then students take turns rolling two dice. The sum of the two dice determines how many "shots" they get to make at the waste basket with a paperwad "ball". The students track the number of shots attempted vs number of shots made, then give the percent, fraction and decimal values of each students shot attempts. I loved the idea so much, I told her to use that lesson plan in the class tomorrow! I can use it again in a week or two while we are studying probability.

Could you give each kid either a team or a particular player, and have him compile a running list of the major stats? (Sorry, I'm a baseball fan, not basketball; I'm not sure of just WHICH stats.) Perhaps they could each be responsible for a bar graph or something comparing the stats of two different players? Or finding the percent increase/ decrease in a particular stat for a player from one game to the next?

It's hard to envision ways to not have aspects of "gambling" in something like a tournament bracket that involves math. People have such a negative connotation of "gambling"... and gambling can be a pretty broad umbrella to different people... People simply refuse to realize that "gambling" is only negative, if you can't reasonably understand math concepts (like probability) in the thing you are betting on. (Betting on dice is only bad when the odds are not in your favor.) But back to the OG thread, if you could somehow find out the probabilities of how seeds do historically, you could do something with that... or maybe you can (when the bracket comes out) compare by region... by conference... you can pick an idicator (i.e. record vs. top-ranked teams) and see how it plays out... *but then, you're heading into "gambling" territory again* I'm gonna think about this. I think I can think of a way.

Gambling with adults is not an issue with me. And, win or lose, gambling with 4th to 6th graders is likely to be a problem for any teacher who encourages it.

Couldn't you do something with turnover ratio & points scored. What about percentage of freethrows made/missed in the last 2mins of the game, if they are close?!?!

I'm about to start doing those exact topics in my 4th grade math class, and I *wish* my cooperating teacher would let me do something like that. The kids would LOVE it, but I know she would not go for it. It's not work out of the book after all...

That's really a shame. I admit I'm not the best at coming up with completely original ideas or activities, but I think anything like this that keeps the kids engaged and teaches a lesson at the same time is wonderful. The teacher did the activity on Friday and brought her own worksheets for the kids to use. I'm very excited to see if they turned these in and - if so - how the activity went. I remember two other activities from my own 6th grade math teacher (which was still elementary school when I attended) that I enjoyed a lot. The first was a straight-up, one-on-one competition to see who could multiply two numbers the fastest. Two students went to the board and the teacher called out two numbers. Whoever multiplied them the fastest won, then got to stay at the board and face other challengers until someone beat them. The second activity was a game of baseball. The teacher actually drew bases and homeplate on the floor (we had green concrete floors), then divided us into two teams. Each student got to "bat" by working a problem on the board. If they were right, they hit a "single". If they were wrong, it was an out. That was a game that got the entire class excited, so I may have to give it a try in my room. It would be a GREAT activity for reviewing all the content we've covered so far this year. Hmmmmmm.....now I'm gonna have to make a long list of "pitches" (problems for the students to solve).