It’s that time of year… March Madness!

Even if you’re not a fan of college basketball, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The competition of the win-to-advance tournament style play. The suspense. The team that becomes the next cinderella story. The buzzer-beaters. The emotion of it all.

Four ways I’ve seen a tournament bracket used creatively in schools:

1. Students participate (compete) in predicting the winners of NCAA Basketball Tournament games. Everyone fills out a bracket, and students join the millions of fans across the country doing the same. Disclaimer: this works best when you explain to students that a 1 seed is better than a 16 seed.

2. The teacher creates a completely new bracket using books (in place of the teams). Students vote on their favorite book, winner advancing to the next round. This is a great way to promote books or could be a fun way to select your next read aloud. (Source: Lori Riedel)

3. The teacher creates a new bracket using different elements all connected to one general topic. One example for topics is PBL Design Elements. Students have to work in groups to determine the most important element/ winner. This is a great activity to promote collaboration and critical thinking. (Source: Alicia Peletz)

4. The teacher creates a bracket of student names or groups for a competition between students. One example would be a PLTW robotics challenge. Students compete against one another to determine the winner, and the winner moves on to the next round to face another challenger. This is a fun activity to engage and challenge students. (Source: Lewis & Clark fifth grade team)

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Join in on the fun this March… and feel free to share any additional bracket ideas in the comments.


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