March Madness Bracket Coding


March Madness is here again and so are everyone’s favorite brackets. Now, everyone knows that brackets are set up to show what teams are playing who and the winner of each round will go to face off the team that advances. Well, being in the spirit of March Madness and of course Teach like a Pirate (you knew it was coming). I have decided to create a type of Bracket set for coding. As many know, I am trying to get our Donors Choose funded by next Wednesday and the clock is ticking. I wanted to show everyone how you could integrate brackets into your Sphero Edu or Coding classroom.

1. For early classrooms set up students to create shapes using coding with Sphero and the App, Tickle. Students have to create coding for their Sphero to create the shape. However, they can’t just have the Sphero or Ollie go make a simple square. They have to have it change color, shake, roll, ect as it makes the shape. The plan is to have students step out of their comfort zones with just simply coding a basic shape. They have to be innovative with their coding. As they advance through the brackets, the shapes become more and more complicated. Ever seen a Sphero made a 3D cylinder? I have and the student made the Sphero change color when it made the ovals and straight lines. Not to mention it jumped like it was skipping rope when it was making the side lines.

2. If you have Bee-bots, have students use a version of Kaboom!. The more questions they answer the more they advance their Bee-bots through a maze the teacher has created. They keep going until they get Kaboom and the next player gets a turn. This is set up to be a Centers Type activity with coding and played like a sports game. The first to complete their maze moves on to the next round.

3. Many know I love doing GameJam activities and you can do them on a number of programs. Have students create their games in the classroom and then have each other play them. The difference is, the students who create games that have the least amount of wins move on to the next round of competition. The trick is to create tougher learning games that students must figure out. If you have one game that is too easy and everyone in the classroom can complete in less than three minutes, that student is out.

4. Moving from digital and gamification, do a reading bracket with students, but with LEGO. Each bracket must be a recreation of a scene or chapter in a book. Every time a book makes it to the next round, students have to create a different scene. The activity is design to create a picture of the story in LEGO form and to see how students interpret the scenes from the story.

5. Finally, do an App Smash Bracket. I did this last year with my students during Genius Hour. An App was rolled on an App Dice and was then picked for the Bracket. The students had to create a lesson or project based on that App. The App that was used the most innovative moved to the next round, but the twist was that an App Smash between the two Apps had to be created in Round 2. Then the App that was used the most for the lesson or project continued to Round 3 and then was smashed with the next App. This continued until the final round of the bracket. My students loved doing this activity, they learned how to create with the different Apps and step out of their comfort zones and became very creative. I use several of their App Smashes to this day.

These are a few ideas you can use during March Madness, give it a try and see the innovation that happens in your classroom.

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