March Madness Math - Part 3

Try these age- and grade-appropriate math ideas that can be used when watching the last few games of the NCAA tournament.
By Jennifer Hogan
Mar 31, 2015



March Madness Math - Part 3

Mar 31, 2015

With the Final Four set and the championship pending, the excitement is rising! It is a close call in the Hogan household to see who will win the trophy this year. My 7-year-old son is in the lead but his father is closing in behind him. I'm hoping you've been having as much fun with the Madness as we have!

Even if you haven't gotten involved in the games yet, kids can still pick which team they would like to win and get in on the weekend fun.

There are many math concepts that can be focused on when following the NCAA tournament. Personally, I feel this is a great time to focus on graphing and collecting data no matter the age. Encourage your children to use graph paper or technology to collect the data and represent their findings during or after the game. Below are some age- and grade-appropriate math ideas that can be used when watching the last few games.  

Kindergarten/1st Grade/2nd Grade:
•    Counting by 1's/2's/3's – count the score for each team to encourage counting by 1's (foul shots), 2's (field goals), and 3's (3-pointers)
•    Create a pictograph with basketballs to represent the total points for each team
•    Use tally marks to represent each point scored
•    Read and write the numbers of players that are on the court and actively playing in each half
•    Make copies of 100 charts and color in/highlight/cross off the players' numbers as they find them
•    Use a 100 chart to count/chart the score of their favorite team as the play progresses
•    Use two 100 charts to keep track of both teams' scores
•    Find the difference of the scores between the two teams at each commercial break or half
•    Pick 5 of their favorite players and make a line plot of their individual points throughout the game

3rd/4th/5th Grade:
•    Create a bar graph of the Final Four team's statistics: 2-pointers, 3-pointers, foul shots, steals, etc.
•    Follow the time of each half and determine the number of minutes/seconds played in each half or at each commercial break
•    Find the difference of the team's scores after each point
•    For each player or favorite players, find the fraction of made baskets over the number of shots taken. Then convert to decimals and record on graph paper in a table
•    For their favorite team on a line plot, track the number of points (1, 2, and 3), steals, blocks, and assists
•    Make predictions throughout the game about the winner, highest scorer, MVP, etc. (based on current statistics they have found)
•    Calculate the number of substitutions made for each team and/or the number of minutes each player played

Middle School:
•    Find the box scores of each team ahead of time and find the probability of each team's score, outcome, total steals, etc.
•    Make a double line graph charting the number of points compared to the time (in minutes) of each game
•    Compute ratios of different statistics for each team and compare them in the Final Four to the championship game
•    Track a favorite player's statistics and chart each stat in fractions, decimals, and percents
•    Find the mode, median, mean, and range for each team's statistics.  Then create a line plot to represent each stat and develop questions to compare the statistics
•    Find the average (mean) of each team's total scoring points of all the games leading up to the Final Four/Championship and chart on a line plot
•    Design a line graph that displays each team's total defensive points in each game in the tournament.  Each line can represent a team and each plot can represent the individual game
•    Find the average number of minutes a favorite player played during each game in the tournament
•    From previous box scores, find the probability (likelihood) of a team winning or losing, final score, number of fouls, etc.

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