Let students get in on the bracket battle fun with this March Madness math game! Students will use knowledge of place value to compare numbers, and with a bit of luck hopefully advance to the final round of the Math Madness Bracket Battle. Plus, download my free March Madness math worksheets.
How To Implement March Madness Bracket Battle
March Madness math worksheets (available for download) and a coin to flip heads/tails.
Procedure for teachers
Put students into groups of four players. Assign Player A, Player B, Player C, Player D.
Give each group a Bracket Battle printout (available for download) and a coin to flip heads/tails.
Decide what numbers students will be using to compete in the Bracket Battle challenge. Each player will pick sixteen numbers. They can be anywhere from 1 to 1000 or even 10,000. The upper number depends on the students’ grade level. For example:
Note: It is possible to use larger numbers in the higher grades, but students may find it a bit silly.
Consider differentiating this game for struggling students, average students, and above-average students. One helpful feature of this game is that it can be easily differentiated in two ways:
By making the numbers "easier" or “harder” for certain students or groups of students
By making the bracket smaller (starting in Round 3 or Round 4, instead of Round 2).
When students complete their brackets and have a “number champion,” have them turn in their sheets to you.
Decide how to reward students.
How Students Play the March Madness Math Game
#1 Setting Up The Bracket
Each player makes a list of 16 numbers that they enter into their brackets. Players cannot be use repeated numbers in their list of 16 numbers.
#2 How Players Compete Against Each Other
Player A competes against Player B and Player C competes against Player D, until the final round. Each side of the bracket consists of 31 individual games before the "Final Round," where the championship is decided.
#3 Bracket Battles
For each "game," players flip a coin. Heads means the greater number wins, tails means the lesser number wins. Players should indicate "greater than" or "less than" by writing it on bracket so it can be tracked. Circle the winning number for each bracket. The winning number then gets placed into the bracket for the next round. All "games" in the round must be completed before moving on to the next round.
#4 Tie Breakers
If there is a "tie" where the two numbers in the bracket are the same, a tiebreaker is resolved in the following manner:
If a “tie” occurs on the second round, the two players competing will use “rock, paper, scissors” to decide the winning bracket.
For all other “ties,” the first player who can come up with the correct sum of the four numbers in the previous bracket wins.
#5 Number Champion
The number remaining after the championship coin toss will be declared the Number Champion!
Download the March Madness math worksheets so students can participate in the bracket battle fun. The Math Madness Bracket Battle download includes teacher instructions, student instructions, example bracket battle, and a bracket battle printout.