Fun Basketball Themed Math Activity
When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher that would let us play “trashketball” on test review days! Yes, Please!!!!
She would give us a review question to solve, and if we got it right, we could wad up our scratch paper and earn a shot.
Everyone loved trashketball day!
A few years ago, my team and I decided to do a March Madness themed week for STAAR review.
I thought it would be fun to replicate some of my elementary memories.
We gave the students a sheet of 10 practice problems, and they got 1 attempt at making a basket for every problem they solved correctly.
We had basketball courts out near the playground, so we marched outside in the Texas heat, stood in lines, and took turns seeing who could make the most baskets. Each class of students added up their cumulative points to see which class would be the winner of the game.
So when I was assigned to the graphing team for our March Mathness event, I wondered how I could take this same idea and reframe it a bit so that it could be useful for practicing graphing.
So, here’s what I came up with!
The main objective of this activity is representing data, but it’s also a great way to practice basic math facts too.
Grab Your March Mathness Materials
You won’t need much to do this activity!
Grab a trashcan, some wadded up paper balls, and a stop watch.
You’ll also need the relay slideshow and the printable graphs.
All of these resources can be found in the Minds in Bloom Unlimited Resource Library! You can sign up for a trial membership to choose 3 resources for free!
Step 1: Create Your Team
You need six teams for this game. If you want, you can have your students come up with team names and decorate a basketball jersey. They can tape it or pin it on their shirt or even use a piece of yarn to make it into a necklace.
Step 1: Gather Your Data
You’ll collect data by giving each team the opportunity to make as many baskets as they can- team relay style!
You’ll need this slideshow of basic math facts. (Or you can use any set of questions you’d like.)
Decide how long each team will get to play and have a stop watch on hand.
Line up the team members and make sure they can access a big pile of trash balls.
Once you press start on the timer, present the slide show. After the player answers the math problem, click to the next slide. If the player was correct, they get to try and make a basket. They’ll return to the end of the line and get ready for their next turn.
The next player on Team 1 does the same thing.
When the timer is up, Team 1’s turn is over, you can record the total number of baskets they made on the scoresheet under Round 1.
The other teams will play in the same way, and then you can repeat the relay process two more times for a total of 3 rounds.
Step 3: Representing Your Data
once you’ve collected the student data, it’s time to represent it!
Download the collection of graphs and plots that you can use!
You can have each team complete a different graph or you can focus on one graph type.
Here are the graphs included:
- Vertical Frequency Table – This is great for tallying up the data!
- Horizontal Frequency Table – This is great for showing the data with digits on a table.
- Bar Graph – This is great for showing the data in a visual way. You can even have students make a double or triple graph to show the results of each round.
- Pie Graph – This is more challenging to make, but is a great visual for comparing team results.
- Stem and Leaf Plot – This is great to show the data as a whole; this graph is not as useful for comparing team scores.
- Dot Plot – Like the stem-and-leaf, this is great to show the data as a whole; this graph is not useful for comparing team scores.
EXTENSION: Create Questions Based on the Data
Knowing how to represent data is really important, but using data to solve problems is an even more valuble skill.
You can give a question sheet to each team and allow the team members to create their own questions that could be solved with their chart or graph.
After each team has submitted their questions (and an answer key!) you can cut them apart to create task cards.
Tape each graph or chart around the room and allow the students to move from graph to graph trying to answer the question.