March Madness Math - Part 1

Here&s how to start a March Madness tradition with your own kids -- and sneak some learning into the fun.
By Jennifer Hogan
Mar 03, 2015



Mar 03, 2015

We are a sports-crazed family, especially when it comes to basketball and March Madness! I remember being in 6th grade and every student in our middle school (yes – there were exactly 64 students in my small Catholic middle school) gathered in the gym for a live draft of the March Madness teams.  Every student got to pull a college from the bin and that school became their team for the tournament.  There were screams of excitement when someone pulled a #1 seed and sad booing when a low seed was chosen.  Every day we would come to school with exciting or defeating news to report -- if our team had won their game and would be advancing to the next round, or if they were out of it completely. 

There was a buzz of excitement in the halls of our school, and that feeling is still with me every year as the tournament approaches.  I remember staying up late to watch if my "team" could pull it off.  I remember the night they lost, having to go in the next day and present a report I had written about the college and all I had learned about that university.  I was so disappointed my team didn't make it to the Final Four, but I will remember that experience forever.

For the last few years, my husband and I have upheld a March Madness tradition with our own children, and we'll be doing it again this month. It's a great way to sneak in some math learning – and kids love it. Here's what you can do:  

  • Print out blank bracket forms
  • Watch Selection Sunday together
  • Each person fills out who he thinks will win each game and advance to the final round
  • Each round a person wins, she receives points for the number of teams chosen correctly in that round:

o    First Round:         1 point per win
o    Second Round:    2 points per win
o    Third Round:        4 points per win
o    Fourth Round:      8 points per win
o    Fifth Round:        16 points per win
o    Final Round:        Winner is worth 32 points!

  • The kids are responsible for finding out the scores (either on TV, online, or in the newspaper)
  • Each round, the kids highlight their wins and calculate their score for that round

The family member at the end with the most points (calculated correctly) is the winner!  The winner gets to choose a special celebration dinner and keeps the "March Madness Bragging Rights" for the entire year!

This year, I have proposed that our older two children choose one college, research that school, and present a report on the school at the end of the tournament; just like I did when I was younger. They are already starting to talk about which school they are going to choose and the tournament hasn't even started yet!

There are SO many great traditions you could start with your family revolving around this exciting collegiate athletic tournament.  Please share any ideas you have and what you will be doing to celebrate March Madness in your family on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page!  

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