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8 Exciting Basketball Games for Math

If you didn’t know this about me, I absolutely love sports! March is one of my favorite times of year because of the big college basketball tournament. I love making connections with students over sports and discussing which games they watched and if their team was a winner. I also love to bring the fun and excitement into the classroom with basketball games for math by hosting a March Mathness tournament. Read on to take a peek inside of my March Mathness resource and the 8 math games with basketball themes that are included (plus a BONUS activity) for you to use with your students. 

basketball games for math

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What is March Mathness?

March Mathness is similar to the structure of the big college basketball tournament. The real basketball tournament starts with 68 teams and continues on until there is only one winner left standing to become the national champion. 

March Mathness works in much the same way, but in this case, students will put basketball games for math to the test. I created a set of 8 different math games with basketball themes to engage students in learning, especially during the month of March.

They’ll complete the 8 different math games to determine their favorite and which one will be crowned the champion March Mathness game!

As teachers, we know that math can be a daunting and tricky subject for some of our students. It requires concentration, practice, and patience to master mathematical concepts, just like it does in sports like basketball. However, just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean that math can’t be fun. 

It’s our job to make math enjoyable for all of our students, no matter what level they’re at. One way to do that is by incorporating real-world connections into the learning, which is exactly what March Mathness does. 

If you’d like to see how March Mathness works in action, be sure to head on over to my YouTube channel, hit subscribe, and check out my March Mathness video!

How Does the March Mathness Tournament Work?

To prepare for the March Mathness tournament, you’ll need to print the basketball games for math as well as the recording sheets. You can print the recording sheets individually or make them into a booklet for your students to keep throughout the tournament. 

You can use this resource in whichever way works best for your schedule. You can spend one day rotating through each activity or place the math games in a math station to rotate to throughout the month of March. 

Each activity includes its own set of instructions and a matching recording sheet. After a March Mathness game is completed, students will check the game off on the matching clipboard inside of their booklet. They’ll repeat this until all 8 of the activities are completed and checked off.

March mathness checklist

The March Mathness Bracket

Prior to starting the basketball games for math, have students write the name of all 8 math games on the bracket sheet.

March Mathness bracket

Once everyone has completed all 8 games, they will fill in the Super 8 graph and vote to see which 4 games move on to the Favorite Four round. 

March Mathness graph

Due to copyright, I’ve come up with my own names for each level of the bracket, such as Favorite Four, etc. However, there is a blank bracket included so your students can fill in the levels according to real March Madness rules or they can make up their own. 

This process repeats until your students determine their favorite math game. The winner will be the March Mathness champion!

Now, it’s time for a sneak peek at each activity included in this resource! 

8 Math Games with Basketball Themes

Dribbling Sums

This is an addition color by code activity that covers math facts up to the sum of 20. This activity is not your average color by code, though.

After students are finished coloring, they’re challenged to write a word problem using one of the math facts from the picture. I tell my students they get bonus points if the word problem relates to the picture, which makes them think even more critically.  

March mathness color by code

Shooting for Place Value

Prior to playing the Shooting for Place Value game, you’ll need to set up 3-4 baskets for each place value you’re practicing, such as ones, tens, hundreds, and thousands.

To play, students will stand behind the line, toss 10 bean bags into the baskets, and write the number of bean bags down on their recording sheet next to each place value.

You can differentiate this by having them write the number various ways, such as in expanded form, word form, etc.

If the number is greater than 500, they get to color in a basketball goal. Play continues until they color in all 10 goals on their recording sheet. You can learn more about this activity and grab a freebie to use along with it in this blog post

Place value basketball games for math

Money Crack the Code

Money Crack the Code is a kid-favorite March Mathness game! Using the picture key, students will write the value of the coins that match the symbols shown. Then they’ll solve for the value in each given set. They can draw the coins or use manipulatives to help them solve. 

Money March mathness game

Subtraction DUNK!

For this basketball game for math, each pair of students will need 2 sets of linking cubes, a 10-sided die, and a 6-sided die. You can grab both in my favorite Wiz Dice set. To play, they are going to roll the dice and subtract the two numbers.

Using the color cubes, students will cover the difference on their board. If their partner rolls the same difference, they can “BUMP” their partner off and replace their game cube with their own color. They will continue playing with their partner until all of the differences are covered.

Subtraction math games with basketball theme

Shooting Free Throws

To play this March Mathness game, students will need the Shooting Free Throws game mat and a pom-pom ball. I like to use orange pom-pom balls to make it look like a basketball.

Students will drop the pom-pom ball onto the number mat two times, writing each number on their recording sheet. They’ll either add or subtract depending on what the box says on their recording sheet to find the sum or difference. This game includes practice for addition and subtraction with and without regrouping problems. 

Free throw March mathness game

It’s GAME Time

This It’s Game Time math game is simple and only requires a pencil and a dice. Students will roll the dice and look at the corresponding column of clocks.

They’ll write the correct time of the first available clock shown in that column. This process repeats until they’ve solved all of the clocks on the sheet and written the correct times. 

Time basketball games for math

Comparing Scores

This math game uses a set of task cards placed either around the room or at a math station. You can differentiate by using different sets of task cards for different groups of students as well.

To play, students will choose a card, compare the numbers shown, and record their answer on the recording sheet. 

Comparing numbers March mathness game

Fraction Madness

Fraction Madness is one of my favorite basketball games for math! Students will need a plastic spinner (or a pencil and paperclip).

They’ll spin the spinner, identify the fraction shown, and color a matching fraction picture on their sheet. This continues until all of the fraction pictures have been covered. 

Fraction basketball games for math

BONUS Writing Activity: Championship Game

I love incorporating writing into my math block, so I’ve included a bonus writing component in the March Mathness resource.

This writing prompt has a “Championship Game” theme. After completing all of the March Mathness games in the tournament and filling out their bracket, students will write a letter to their principal to tell them which math game was their favorite and why. 

This is a fun way for them to reflect on all of the activities and share their opinion and excitement for math with their principal. Plus, this is a great way for your principal to see what great things you’re doing during your math block!

Championship game March mathness writing activity

These 8 March Mathness activities are not only fun, but they also provide valuable real-world earning opportunities for your studnents.

Looking for more March math activities to use with your students? Grab the March Mathness resource plus more math stations below!

Be sure to pin this post to come back to it every March!

basketball games for math

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