March Madness - Action for Healthy Kids
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March Madness

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Boy Posing with BasketballFor sports enthusiasts, March can be an exciting time of the year because of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. Bring some March Madness excitement to your school and classroom with these ideas to keep students active and engaged!

Bucket Basketball

Let the games begin! This activity will get students in the March Madness spirit and spark learning in the classroom. The game can be modified for any subject and grade level. It is also a great way to review subject material or to assess current knowledge prior to starting new content.

  1. Write or pull your content questions, varying in level and intensity and centered on a subject or curriculum area of your choosing. For a longer game, write at least 40-50 questions!
  2. Determine the total number of points needed to win.
  3. Create a few small (3-4 inches diameter) balls. An easy idea is to make it with paper and wad it together surrounded by a few layers of masking tape. Students can help! Or, you can use soft, hand-size foams ball if available.
  4. Set up the room with a (clean) waste bucket (or more depending on the size of the class) in the room to serve as the basketball goal.
  5. Place a piece of masking tape on the floor approximately 3 feet from the basket. Then place a piece of masking tape on the floor approximately 8 feet from the basket.
  6. Divide the students into two teams or more depending on the size of the class and the amount of baskets available.
  7. Based on your content or subject, give a brief overview and objective of the activity. Let students know that when a question is answered correctly, the student will have the opportunity to score an additional point by shooting the ball into the basket.
  8. Keep score for the questions and feel free to rank questions with point amounts. Easier questions are worth 1 point each and harder questions are worth 2.
  9. If a student gets an easier question correct, they have a chance to shoot for an extra point. Have the student shoot from the tape mark that is furthest from the basket.
  10. If a student gets a harder question correct, they have a chance to shoot for an extra point. Have the student shoot from the tape mark that is closest to the basket.
  11. The first team to score the winning amount wins!
  12. To create a heightened March Madness experience, add an extension to the activity where students can create and keep track of their own Bucket Basketball bracket. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate more complex math skills into the game!


In the Gymnasium

If you are looking to do an activity in the gym, consider this option for each grade level. Feel free to link it to physical education lessons and curriculum standards. You can also tailor the games towards a different sport if you prefer!

  • ElementaryBalloon Basketball – Blow up several balloons. Divide players into two equal teams and place the balloons between them. When indicated, teams are to run to the balloons, pick up one, and attempt to shoot it into the basketball hoop. Once the balloon is up in the air floating near the basket, it can be repeatedly hit to make a basket. Balloons can also be “rebounded” by the other team. Each basket is worth two points and the team with the highest score after the designated time is the winner. Tip: The more balloons, the more fun!
  • Elementary or Secondary3 on 3 basketball games – During physical education class, students can form teams of 3 and play 3 on 3 basketball games in the spirit of March Madness. Games can be as structured as the teacher desires, depending on the focus and direction of the lesson.


Have a parent who’s a basketball coach or an older sibling on the high school team? Invite them to coach one of the 3 on 3 teams or come in and give some basketball tips to students.

Invite parents in to be a part of your Bucket Basketball tournament. You could to a bracket for kids and a bracket for parents, then have the winners play each other!

Once your March Madness activities are a huge hit, make them part of your Every Kid Healthy Week event to engage the whole school community. Enlist your parent organization or individual parents to help with planning and logistics.