NCAA Basketball Bracketology 2019: 34 BB Lesson Links

A Classroom Lesson Never Taught : Welcome to my PBL Reflection

Basketball enters hoop on playground court

It was twenty minutes before the first school bell would ring, signifying the beginning of another day of learning. Students were beginning to enter and fill the classroom. There was air of extreme excitement as the teacher looked from nook to corner. It was a typical room filled with students, desks, chairs, and a few computers. This morning seemed to be different from the others. The teacher stood perplexed, in awe of an  amazing event that was beginning to unfold. Students were using computers and  printers to produce what appeared to be a complicated worksheet. Some kids were on the floor while others were seated at tables eagerly filling the paper out! Their eyes were filled with inquiry and enthusiasm as they completed the graphical sheet from top to bottom! It was definitely a worksheet experience like no other the teacher had ever witnessed! Upon closer inspection the teacher realized the students had searched for and found the new NCAA Basketball Brackets.

The teacher watched students engaged in a true spirit of collaboration, as they learned from each other some interesting facts about various college teams. Geography was a main topic, as students discovered using Google Maps, the location of various universities. The teacher could hear students compare and contrast strengths and weakness of the various competitors, while others children used mathematics to perform some comparative scoring.  There was a massive research symposium, as students looked on the internet to find out what the experts of the newly found science of “Bracketology” thought!  Some students sought out other students ready to present their reasoning for their selections and amazingly showcased their persuasion skills. Any observer would have been amazed by the critical thinking, creativity, and reflections that the students were able to share. It appeared that that the students were in control of this very special time before education would begin. They had created their own learning experience before the bell rang. Their was engagement based on their interest in the real world. It was much like watching a game of neighborhood baseball long before the advent of sanctioned  coaches, leagues and teams.

The twenty minutes were soon past as the bell  rang, and announced yet another day of learning. The students obediently put away their Brackets Papers, while the room came to a silent halt. Students left their collaborative groups and sat in their individual seats lined up in precision rows. They pulled out a worksheet, some only half filled out, assigned  from the day before. The teacher initiated a well thought out lecture entitled ” Making Predictions Using Compare and Contrast”.  As he described predictions as they have been made through observing math sequences, the students  appeared to listen as they took notes. After all, this was an important standard to be repeated for a test. What a change the bell had made.  The March of Madness was over.  It was now a time to learn?

Live Interactive Bracket – Watch the NCAA live interactive bracket for this year’s tournament. Note that this page also contains a printable bracket.

NCAA Big Dance Basics – Take a look and get ideas from the STEM site eGFI. You will get hooked as your read their statement: “ From long-shot “Cinderella” teams to “field goal” averages, “giant killers” and “bracketology,” the NCAA Div. 1 men’s college basketball championship has generated a host of pet terms and traditions since it first tipped off in 1939”. This is a 2013 article …but still filled with great thoughts and ideas.

The Art of the Free Throw – It really is about STEM! Take a look at this eGFI article and video that really goes through the math and science of a free throw.

Basketball Physics – This lesson comes from Science Friday. It contains the Driving Question, “ How does physics affect your game?” John Fontanella, a physicist at the U.S. Naval Academy and author of The Physics of Basketball, explains the role of physics in basketball, from foul shots to side-arm passes. You and your students will find out what forces are acting on the ball, and what players have to do to offset these forces.

Physics of Basketball – A great basketball thinking video  from Dragon Fly TV.

Basketball For Better Verse – This lesson from Education World provide students the opportunity to look at various basketball poems and the publish their own.

The Team at Home – Another lesson from Education World that allows students to locate an NCAA basketball tournament team on a map, research the relationship of the team’s name and mascot to the history and geography of the college. This is a great social studies lesson.

Who’s Number 1? Investigating the Math of Rankings – In this amazing lesson, students explore the use of quantitative ratings by examining how Division I college basketball teams are ranked, and how specific mathematical decisions can and do have significant consequences.

Thinking About The Future… A Poem of Possibilities – This resource from Read Write Think focuses on the poem “Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike, analyzing the details and the format of the poem. From there students are then introduced to a writing assignment in which they write a poem about themselves in five years.

Mathematicians Agree… Picking NCAA Bracket More Luck Then Science – Do you really want a fascinating reading about the science of the brackets? This is a great read and could be a part of any language arts or math class.

Busting The Brackets – You will enjoy this wonderful lesson from the New York times.

Bracket Lesson Activities – You can use the idea of brackets to help your students discuss and take part in meta-cognitive activities in almost any subject area. Take a look and give it a try.

Smithsonian March Madness – This is a wonderful exhibit from teh Smithsonian. Examine the multitude of March Madness articals.

James Naismith… Inventor of the Game of Basketball – This is another awesome activity from Read Write Think. Students look at the original rules of basketball, allowing a perfect opportunity for students to practice their expository reading and writing skills. Best of all, students end up with some their own innovation as they put together their own hand out to explain a game.

Should LeBron James Mow His Own Lawn? – Discover this lesson that explroes absolute advantage, comparative advantage, specialization and trade with an example using professional basketball player LeBron James.

Using NBA Statistics for Box and Whiskers Plot – You may wish to substitute a student’s favorite NCAA player for the NBA player. This lesson from Illuminations requires students to use information from basketball statistics to make and compare box and whisker plots. The data provided in the lesson come from the NBA, but you could apply the lesson to data from the NCAA men’s or women’s. You may need to join.

So there is my story and links… want the next 17 links? Please follow and sign up. I have them scheduled to be published before the end of this week. If this has been useful, please give a retweet! It means a lot!

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Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at