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Mapping the NCAA Basketball Tournament



Eliminate teams from the map as March Madness progresses.

Mark the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament by using pushpins on a U.S. map to indicate the locations of all 64 competing teams. (Double the fun by including the 64 women's teams too!)

Write the team names on individual slips of paper and have students draw team names from a hat. (If you have 21 students and there are 64 teams, each student should be able to draw 3 team names.) Students then are responsible for learning about their chosen teams, marking the home locations on the map, searching the Web to find team logos, and so on.

As the "madness" continues, use newspapers or the official Web site of the NCAA to keep track of tournament results. As teams are eliminated, remove those pins from the map. When the field gets down to the "Sweet 16," have students add the team logos to the map. Students can use yarn to connect the pairs of teams that will play each other too.

Each day, as you remove teams, ask questions that involve students in using grade-appropriate geography vocabulary. Have students share facts about the teams' locations too; for example, younger students might make note of the teams' home states; older students might note the city or town that is home to the team; still older students might map the coordinates (longitude and latitude) of the teams' locations.


Post a large outline map of the United States on a bulletin board.

If you don't have a map to use for this purpose, copy onto a sheet of transparency film an outline map of the United States (see U.S Outline Map Source 1 or U.S. Outline Map Source 2). Use an overhead projector to project the map image onto a bulletin board covered with white construction or mural paper. Trace the map onto the bulletin board.


Find more bulletin board ideas in our Bulletin Boards That Teach Archive.

See these articles about bulletin boards: