March Madness and Probability
Students respond to lessons that are relevant to them. When concepts are centered around a familiar character from popular culture or their personal interests, etc. students are able to connect to the material more easily and take more of an interest in understanding each lesson. As 'March Madness' has consumed many of your college basketball lovers, why not take advantage of this teachable moment and create your own probability activity. Tom DeRosa, a middle school educator and contributor to The Apple, has provided an overview of his own ideas, as well as, links to other educator's activities. In most cases, students will explore the historical success of teams based on their given seed, or rank, and use this information to predict the outcome of this year's tournament. DeRosa provides an excellent worksheet to be used with this activity complete with data table and questions of differing difficulty.
If you do have your students fill out their own brackets, work with your students to update it after each round and recalculate the new probability of each team winning. This is a great activity that will really speak to your sports lovers!