by Jack Church
Businesses lose $1.2 billion in productivity during March Madness, according to ESPN.com. Classrooms are no different.
Students with chromebooks are often typing away for their class, but when when the month of March comes, all hell breaks loose. The nature of competition makes all the basketball fans in the school start to compare and develop brackets. Some students, like senior Gunnar Malm, are able to get their brackets to the top in the world. He was ranked sixth in world for the ESPN Bracket Challenge where he squared off against millions of brackets.
“I put in the work to make the best possible bracket and ended up ranked sixth in the world,” Gunnar said. “Now comes the challenge of winning again.”
Teachers, on the other hand, are not as fond of the tournament. Students are often distracted by trying to watch games on their laptops or checking scores on their phones. It breaks up the flow of class when teachers need to stop and have the students close their chromebooks.
“It drives me bonkers,” said English teacher Aimee Miller. “Every one of my sophomore boys is trying to compare their brackets so they can brag to their friends about it. When the games start, I need to be pacing through the class so they won’t be focusing on the games while I’m teaching.”
Not all teachers have the same opinion as Miller. I’ve personally been in classes where we discussed March Madness as a class. When we weren’t talking about it, we were watching it. Some teachers let students come in during their lunches to watch games in class during the round of 64, while others would let students watch it on their phones or live stream on their laptops.
Some teachers like to try to make the madness into a positive for their class. Business teacher Mike Bryant challenged students to find out the revenue generated by the host networks and try to learn the cost of a 30-second advertisement on CBS during the finals. Others, like first-year teacher Lauren Karalis, try to find the statistics in the tournament. She showed her class that you have a 1 in 1,610,543,269 chance of having a perfect bracket. That number varies year by year, with last year’s odds being 1 in 7,419,071,319. What makes the odds vary that much? The dominate teams get better while the mediocre get worse. The stats on the top seeds were much higher across the board so the lower seeds didn’t seem to have a chance.