March Madness Teachable Moments with Newspapers in Education Program

Do you have a sports lover in your family? Do you ever find yourself wishing you could harness your child’s interest in sporting events for academic purposes? If so, read on…

Just as we are recovering from end-of-football-season withdrawals, a new fever strikes in our home… March Madness… I am not a “sports person,” but I am learning to appreciate and participate in order to connect with my son. And I am discovering that there are many ways to score big with learning, too.

The past two years, our son has enjoyed participating in the Newspapers In Education (NIE) NCAA March Madness program. Even though it was created for use in the classroom, it is available to homeschool families as well. The teacher packet comes with a giant US map and a set of stickers. We look in the sports pages to find the teams in the bracket and place a sticker on the hometown of each participating team. As the tournament progresses, we place new sets of stickers on the hometowns of the winning teams in each round. Participants also receive a packet and e-mails containing ideas for further study.

There are so many learning opportunities during the NCAA Basketball Tournament…

Multiply 16 teams by each of 4 regions.
Divide the field in half for each round of play.
Use game stats for word problems – point totals, difference in points, total points from 3-point shots, numbers of fouls…
Calculate probability and percentages – How many of the tournament teams from Indiana made it to the Sweet 16?

Identify the location of each team’s hometown.
Find the longitude and latitude of the cities.
Calculate the number of miles a team must travel.
Which states and regions of the US have the most participating teams?

Research the origins of the game.
Learn more about a famous coach or a specific college.

Language Arts:
Read newspaper articles about games and players.
Write an acrostic poem about BASKETBALL.
Pretend to be a sports announcer interviewing players and coaches.
Write a persuasive paper convincing others why your favorite team will win the tournament.

Watch for NIE March Madness registration in the Waco Tribune Herald next spring. For year-round resources visit:

So when March Madness hits next spring… Watch for NIE March Madness details in the Waco Tribune Herald and sign up to participate! I hope it will be a slam dunk for your family, too.
Shared by Kim Olmstead