March 2016 - History Gal

4 Ways to Incorporate the Men's College Basketball Tournament into Your Social Studies Class

by History Gal

I live in the middle of a college basketball mecca. People around here go crazy for their favorite college team and students are no exception. The men's college basketball tournament kicks off today at noon. Students will sneak out their cell phones and even teachers will have the games streaming on their computers to see if UNC Wilmington knocks off the either loved or hated Duke University. Instead of ignoring the elephant in the room, I decided to embrace the tournament.

Here are some things that you might like to try:

#1 - Make copies of a printable bracket and let students fill out their brackets with a pen or something not erasable. I do not allow cross-outs. If they mess up, they have to re-do the bracket. As the tournament progresses, take a few minutes at the beginning of class to update and tally student brackets.

How to Score:
1st Round: 1 point for each correct pick
2nd Round: 2 points for each correct pick
3rd Round: 4 points for each correct pick
4th Round: 8 points for each correct pick
5th Round: 16 points for each correct pick
Final Game: 32 points for correct pick

#2 - Graph Making -  Use the student choices to create graphs showing how many students picked each school in each round. Place the number tallies on the board.  Each round students are challenged to create different types of graphs to show the data.

#3 - Use the tournament as an excuse to squeeze in a geography lesson. Have students label a map of the United States with the states, important bodies of water, and the sites of the tournament games.

 #4 - Use the tournament to reinforce cardinal and ordinal directions by having students write sentences about the locations of the schools in the tournament and where the students live.

I hope you enjoy these activities and enjoy the craziness of the men's college basketball tournament!

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