May All Your Swishes Come True

So we’ve slowly worked our way through a much-deserved mild winter and find ourselves on the cusp of March Madness.  I’ve always thought March Madness to be synonymous for both basketball and cabin fever but this year, I think it’s exclusively basketball related.  The NCAA Basketball Tournament is full of opportunities for learning far beyond the rules of the games and good sportsmanship.

Here’s a quick rundown of some great ideas to make the Tournament fun AND educational, as posted by Between Us Parents. Click on the link for the full article.


Mascots – what are they and what significance do they have to the school?

And while we often think of mascots as animals, some of them are botanicals such as our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes.  Who knew that the list of mascots includes some crazy characters like an Okra and a Cayenne Pepper!

And how about the Billiken from St. Louis University?



Where are the schools and how do they fit into the four regions?  For the 2015-16 season there are 351 NCAA basketball schools across 32 divisions.  Lots of potential here for learning. Pull out the big map.   



Practice figuring percentages – How many free throws made vs. attempted? 

And who can calculate the surface area of a sphere?( = 4 pi r2 ) This one is supposed to be ideal for middle schoolers, so I’ll take solace in the fact that I’m too far removed from that math class to be able to solve this equation!

How about word problems that incorporate math and geography?  If a bus leaves the University of Kentucky at 5am traveling at 60 mph heading to The Ohio State University, and another bus leaves at 6am traveling at 70mph…  You get the picture. Might be good filler at half-time.



This time of year can be especially hard to accommodate physical activity.  If the weather is decent and you have a basketball hoop in your yard, encourage the kids to get out there and shoot some hoops. Make it a contest and figure some more percentages.  If not, alternate jumping jacks and sit ups during commercial breaks.  It’ll burn off the extra calories from game night munchies too. 

If you’re a very competitive family you might want to make medals.  Check out my winter Olympics post that features a recipe for salt dough medals.

For some basketball themed reading, there are many, many books on the subject at WPPL.  A power search of the keyword basketball will yield nearly 400 results in juvenile literature alone.  There are lots of excellent fiction series by authors Matt Christopher, Tim, Green, Mike Lupica and even basketball greats Abdul Kareem-Jabbar and Amar’e Stoudemire each have a book series.  Sports Illustrated also offers a graphic novel series.  


My First Basketball Book  JP My First: Basketball

Let’s Play Basketball  JE Lindeen, Mary



Rebound Time  JF Maddox, Jake

Beastly Basketball  JF: Sports: Graphic: Beastly

Game Time, Mallory!  JF Friedman, Laurie

Fast Break  JF Lupica, Mike

Sasquatch in the Paint  JF Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem

The Man Who Invented the Game of Basketball: The Genius of James Naismith  J796.323092



The Final Four  YA Volponi, Paul

Game  YA Myers, Walter Dean