College basketball is one of the hottest sports in the country, and March Madness takes it all to the next level. This annual tournament is sure to have your young sports fans talking, so why not use it to bring some fun into your classroom this spring? Try these three fun — and educational! — activities to get your students hooked on learning during tournament time.
Food Chain Tournament
To inject some March Madness into your science lessons, have your students use their knowledge of the food chain to fill out a tournament bracket with head-to-head battles between various animals in your ecosystem. You can do this by making a special bracket featuring animals you’ve been studying. Consider using the NCAA regions (South, Midwest, East, West) as different habitats; for example: rainforest, tundra, desert and woodland. Your kids will have fun imagining battles between the animals and debating who might win the ultimate food chain championship.
Hometown Favorites Geography Brackets
Another way to use the college basketball tournament bracket in your classroom is to challenge your students to fill them out based on studying a map of the United States. To play this fun social studies game, assign each student a new home town (bonus points if they research some fun facts about that city). Then instruct students to fill out the official NCAA tournament bracket by choosing winners in each matchup based on which college is closest to their assigned hometown. If you like, you can have students track points awarded to the winners by hand or online to see who wins the bracket challenge by the time the championship game rolls around in April.
Basketball Review Games
If you’re a major b-ball fan, install a real basketball hoop on a wall of your classroom and use it to get kids moving during a fun review game that works with any subject. Just divide the class in half and line each team up at the hoop. Ask a review question of the two students at the front of the line. The person who answers correctly gets to take a shot (to stay safe, a soft, foam ball is a good idea!). Award one point for each basket. After each question, have students move to the back of the line so that everyone gets a turn. This is a great way to keep kids active on a rainy day when you’re stuck with indoor recess.
You don’t have to love — or even know much about — basketball to get in on March Madness fever. Get creative about using those addictive tournament brackets in your classroom, and enjoy the ride with your students this month!