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With the NCAA Men’s Final Four teams in place, how many schools are left on your bracket? Don’t feel bad…there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible brackets. That's the number nine follow by eighteen zeros, or 9.2 quintillion. In other words, if all possible brackets were stacked on top of each other (on standard paper), the pile would reach from the moon and back over 1.1 million times. It’s no wonder billionaire investor Warren Buffet offered one billion dollars to anyone who could fill out a perfect bracket.

Still, Mr. Hazel’s class decided to take on the challenge (for fun…not for money). In fact, they made it a game…a math game. After filling out the table (or bracket), students have been watching the results of the games closely (outside of class, of course), and highlighting correct predictions on their own personal bracket outside the classroom. Throughout the tournament, they have been adding points for each correct prediction. As teams move further in the tournament, students collect more points. Then, they noticed that it follows a pattern. The play-in games were worth one point. Make it to the round of 32, two points. If you manage to make it to the sweet sixteen, four points. The elite eight will garner you eight points. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the final four, 16 points. Have you figured out the pattern yet? That’s right…multiply by two.

Now, it’s crunch time! If you make it to the national championship game, 32 points. For those students who pick the eventual national champion, 64 points. When the tournament is over, each student will add up all their points. As an extra incentive, the person with the most points at the end will win a special prize from their teacher. In case of a tie, students picked the final score as well. Predictions, Tables, Patterns, Addition, Multiplication…oh my! No, just another way to bring mathematics and American culture into the classroom!

Written by: Damien Hazel, Third Grade Teacher
Posted: Apr 02, 2014 by Marni Menkin

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