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Monday Morning Ready03.30.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

It’s the time of year for March Madness. And boy, do fans love the underdog. The science shows, again and again, that we can’t resist pulling for the underdog teams when college basketball’s national tournament rolls around... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

How do you decide which team to root for when you're watching sports?

Grade 5-6

Imagine that you're competing in a contest for the third year in a row. Would you try harder to get first place if you had won the contest the past two years or if you had gotten second place both times? Why?

Grade 7-8

Why do you think people root for the underdog in some situations but not in others?

Grade 9-10

Why do you think so many studies have been conducted to better understand why people root for underdogs? How could this information be useful?

LESSON PLAN
Play a Game to Review Content

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, create a bracket following the outline of the one used in the NCAA college basketball tournament. Create an extensive list of spelling words or review questions for an upcoming test. You will also need a coin.
  2. Display the bracket for the class. Invite students to share what they know about it. Scroll down to display a video that explains the bracket in more detail.
  3. Divide the class into teams. Encourage each group to select a team name. Place the teams randomly in your bracket's first-round slots. Then begin the tournament.
  4. As each game begins, flip the coin to see which team goes first. When it's their turn, challenge students on a team to work together to spell a word/answer a question. If the team answers correctly, it gets a point. If the answer is incorrect, the other team gets an opportunity to "rebound," or spell that same word/answer that same question. If the "rebounding" team answers correctly, it gets a point. That "rebounding" team also gets possession of the next word/question.
  5. The first team to score the identified number of points advances to the next round. Continue until one team wins the final match-up.

ASSESSMENT:

Administer a "post-game wrap-up," which consists a of practice spelling test or a collection of the questions you wish to review. Perform the wrap-up as a class or in small groups. Revisit any words or questions that students are still struggling to understand.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Limit the bracket to the Elite Eight. Divide the class into eight teams. End each match when one team scores five points. Perform the wrap-up as a class activity.

Grades 5-6:
Limit the bracket to the Elite Eight. Divide the class into eight teams. End each match when one team scores 10 points. Perform the wrap-up as a class activity.

Grades 7-8:
Limit the bracket to the Sweet Sixteen. Divide the class into 16 teams with two students each. End each match when one team scores 10 points. Perform the wrap-up as a class activity.

Grades 9-10:
Limit the bracket to the Sweet Sixteen. Divide the class into 16 teams with two students each. End each match when one team scores 10 points. Encourage students to discuss the wrap-up in small groups.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
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