March Madness Math - Part 2

Use the NCAA basketball tournament as a way to sneak in some math learning with your kids.
By Jennifer Hogan
Mar 17, 2015



Mar 17, 2015

With selections made and March Madness underway there are so many different ways to get your kids using math while watching the games!  First, have a brainstorming session together as a family about where they see math in a basketball game.  Every year my kids come up with their own ways to keep track of the scores and incorporate different mathematical themes during the games.  I'm always amazed at how creative they are, so first have them pursue how they would like to "find" the math!

Our family favorite is following a specific player and recording their statistics – Favorite Player Stats:

1. After the kids pick their teams, they research online different players on their favorite teams.  They try to narrow it down to one player but sometimes they like to pick more than one. 

2. Once they have their player(s), they decide how many statistics they would like to record. For younger kids, one stat might be enough but the older the child, the more stats they can be responsible for. Here are some suggestions for statistics per game:
•    Points – can break down between 2- and/or 3-pointers
•    Rebounds
•    Free Throws
•    Turnovers
•    Steals
•    Assists
•    Blocks
•    Fouls

3. Now they need a way to record the stats.  They can make their own recording sheet by hand or on the computer.  My daughter likes to use Excel, which is a great way to build her computer skills. I've even found kid-friendly ones online.

4. My kids really love to watch the game and record their player's statistics live. Even if they are in school while the game is played, we record it and they watch it when they get home.  If they can't watch the game they can still find all the stats in the game's box score on any sports website.

5. If their favorite player's team keeps winning then they will be able to record numerous amounts of statistics. The more they win, the more exciting it gets!!

6. Once the team loses (unless they go all the way!), it's time to do something with all the stats. There are tons of different ways to present the Favorite Player Stats. For younger children, display the data in basic numeral form. Older kids can incorporate fractions, decimals, percents, etc. Below are some ideas:

• Favorite Player Poster – create a poster highlighting the favorite player. Reach out to the school to gather March Madness goodies. Print/cut out pictures and make a box score to show their stats.
• Favorite Player Graph – so many different graphs can be used to show each game's stats. They can be created on graph paper or through Excel. They can do one graph for each game or one graph for each stat or one large graph that records all the data gathered. Anything from a bar graph, line graph, pie chart, line plot, or pictograph can be used.
• Favorite Player PowerPoint – displaying the information gathered through PowerPoint is a fun project for your kids. If they gather the data through Excel they can easily create graphs in PowerPoint or make an interactive presentation to show off their favorite player's hard work.
• Favorite Player Book – create a poem or story to tell of their favorite player's journey and accomplishments throughout the tournament. Incorporate the math and stats throughout the "book" in a creative way.

There are so many different ways to have fun with March Madness. Please share how your kids decided to show off their Favorite Player Stats on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page!


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