No matter if they have teams still alive in their March Madness bracket or if their bracket has been busted, fifth grade students are learning concepts about experimental versus theoretical probability.

Holy Trinity School fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Katherine Brosnan, got creative in the classroom and used the NCAA March Madness to engage students within their curriculum in  predicting their bracket choices for this year’s tournament.  To get into the spirit, they decorated basketball jerseys with the students’ own names and interests.  This enabled students to show more about themselves personally and to gain a sense of pride and ownership in the class competition.

When down to 32 college teams, each student was randomly assigned a team from the official NCAA tournament to match his/her decorated jersey.  The fifth grade bracket was displayed in the school’s hallway.  The students have since followed their assigned teams through the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight and now onto the Final Four and the National Championship.

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After each change in the bracket, the students have discussed experimental versus theoretical probability.  Students have learned that according to theoretical probability the teams with the higher seed should win every time but because the world works on experimental probability this does not always happen. 

“It's great having a teacher like Mrs. Brosnan because she loves sports and encourages learning in a way she knows will interest us. Some people in our class had never heard of March Madness or brackets but they know now! I researched all the college teams and made good decisions...at least I thought they were good until all the shocks happened!  I love following the college teams and dream of going to a college with a great sports reputation,” said Conleth Gorham, a fifth grader.

Danny Fannick, also a fifth grader at Holy Trinity, commented, “My bracket was busted, just like half of the country.  It was fun while it lasted.  The school project made following all the games more fun since I needed to keep track of my teams.”

The students can’t wait to see who wins over the weekend and the championship game on Monday!

Since 1916, Holy Trinity School has provided a quality Catholic education to Westfield and the surrounding communities. A 2011 National Blue Ribbon and a Middle States accredited school, its mission is to educate students to actualize their full, individual potential both spiritually and academically.