Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Let the MATHness Begin!

Although the calendar says it is still over a week away, doesn't it feel like Spring has sprung?  Daylight Savings, longer days, flowers beginning to bloom and trees beginning to bud.  All these scream SPRING IS HERE!!!!!

In education, Spring brings about a couple of unique challenges.  For many of us, the first is the stress of standardized testing.  As much as I try to downplay it to my students, colleagues, and parents, testing brings me great anxiety.  For teachers, standardized tests are just one of MANY ways we assess the progress of our students.  Unfortunately, for the public, test scores are the ONLY way they assess how our students make growth throughout the year.  

The second challenge teachers face during Spring is trying to keep our students, especially our boys, engaged.  I don't know about you, but I feel like my students are starting to run out of steam.  We have worked hard this year, but each day seems to be tougher than the day before in keeping my students motivated and engaged.

Although Spring brings these educational challenges, it is my favorite time of the year.  Not only for the obvious reasons listed above, but it is also happens to be when the BEST sporting event of the year takes place...March Madness!  

March 15th kicks off this year's version of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as March Madness.  Even for the casual sports fan, March Madness is an event everyone can participate in.  Whether you fill out a bracket based on knowledge or random guessing, there is something magical about trying to predict the champion.  

Early in my teaching career, I had my students fill out entire brackets, and the results were not very good.  That led me to create three different games I use in my classroom in which students choose teams to represent them throughout the tournament instead of picking every game.  This has been a success, as their choices all come down to choosing strategy, not simply selecting winners based on limited insight.  I use the as a chance to compete against my students to see who can pick the best set of teams.  More than once, a group of students have beaten me.  It is wonderful to watch the joy in their faces to take down Mr. K!

I have also created sets of word problems that engage students in a variety of math skills based on several March Madness statistics.  I have made available March MATHness: Level IMarch MATHness: Level II, as well as a combo pack.  Level I is geared towards students in grades 2-4, while level II is more for 4th-6th grade students.  Each of the resources includes all three games, as well as grade level appropriate word problems.  If you are interested, please check out one of the links below...

March MATHness Combo Pack

March MATHness: Level II

March MATHness: Level I

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Thank you for reading this post!

IHMG Creations

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