Math, March Madness

Math Madness: 3 Easy Basketball Steps to Learn Times Tables

Math Madness

Let’s get ready to rumble! If you are like me, I get goose bumps just hearing that phrase because it gets me thinking about nachos with melted cheesy goodness, hot dogs, big crowds and above all, March Madness! I love this time of year watching the games and cheering for my teams, which usually don’t make it past the first round, but I continue to hold out hope. And, I have to say, out of every sport, basketball is by far my favorite because it is the easiest for me to understand.
Math, March Madness

Now that my alma mater suffered a devastating lost (no, I don’t want to talk about it), I’m now throwing my entire cheering section behind my Michigan State Spartans. Sparty on! For all my Spartan friends out there, you’ll know what I mean by “we want tacos!”

As March Madness ramps up, and now that all your brackets are filled out, we’re ready to see how it all unfolds. The best part of March Madness is watching all the kids get into it too. I love watching them as they are on the edge of their seat watching in anticipation and how they all suddenly become “pros” on the court during halftime trying to dunk the ball or make that trick play while playing outside with their cousins.

With that in mind, an idea suddenly came to me. Why not mix education with March Madness? This is a great time to make learning fun while kids are motivated and excited about all the games. And voila, Math Madness was born!

One of the most common challenges we see with our students is their ability to remember simple math facts and retain important details like times tables. We find that some of the most effective methods for remembering and retaining information is not only based on movement, but also with “brain games” or mental activities. This is why Math Madness is so perfect because it mixes movement and physical activity with a mental challenge.

This Math Madness challenge is geared toward helping your child learn their times tables, but you can also use it for addition and subtraction as well. Try it out with any math facts your child might be struggling with at school or use it as a refresher course if they are already great at math. Even if they are proficient in math, children still need mental challenges for problem solving and critical thinking.

Let’s get started!

Math, March Madness

What you will need:

  • Basketball Hoop
  • Basketball
  • Printed Numbers 1-12 on individual squares of paper
  • Your Child (of course)

Math Facts, March Madness

You can use an indoor court at your local gym, your driveway or an outdoor court. All options work great as long as you have a net and a basketball with plenty of room to move around the court.

Step 1

Place the printed numbers all over the court. Make sure to place them in areas where they can make a basket. You may need to tape them to the floor so they don’t move.
Math Facts, March Madness

Step 2

Have your child step on one number first, let’s say it’s 8. Have them say the number and then make a basket. Why say it out loud? This helps their retention and comprehension of the number.

Math, March Madness

Step 3

Whether they make the first shot or not, have them move to another number before they make the next shot, let’s say it’s 2. Before they make the shot they have to say the previous number (8) times the current number (2) equals the answer (16). Make the basket.
Math, March Madness

Continue the process all around the court having them make shots using as many number sequences as possible to help them learn the multiplication table.

5 x 7 = 35, basket, 3 x 11 = 33, basket, and so on…
Math, March Madness

This game is also a great way to help your child with their addition and subtraction because they have to visualize and think about the numbers in their head rather than on paper. If they are struggling with math, go slow at first. As they become better with their times tables or math facts, make the game go faster so they have to think more quickly. We want the answers to be right, but we also want them to maintain that mental challenge.
Math, March Madness

Have a great time! Go Green!


Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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