A good friend of mine recently shared this app, Bracket Maker Pro, and we had a really fun time playing with it. I knew I wanted to try it with some of my students. Today, my SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology) met after school and I thought it would be fun for them to have an epic “App Smack Down.” I asked the kids to get in groups of two or three so that we could have 8 teams. Since this was for fun after school, I told them that they could choose any app to showcase and they would have one minute to speak about the possibilities of the application and why we’d select that app over the opposing team’s app. Bracket Maker Pro (this is an iPhone app, but can be used on iPad as well) makes it very simple. All you do is select the number of teams, select whether it’s single or double elimination, and most importantly shuffle the order, so no app has a higher seeded advantage. Then, the lightning rounds begin and each team has one minute to highlight their app. Once they both present, then the group votes for the team that will advance through the bracket. Since I work with very competitive 4th and 5th graders, I had them vote anonymously. Finally, once the votes are tallied, a winner advances to the next round. Since we did 8 teams, our bracket was smaller than the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four, Finals, and Champion.
As we played and the kids debated, it made me think of all the cool ways this could be used in the classroom. What a better way to engage kids in subjects than to involve them in current sporting events? The kids also surprised me with their public speaking skills, presentations, general ability to prove their points, and their power to persuade.
Here’s a few ideas that you could use in your classroom:
- App Sharing
- Book Reviews
- Various Topics in a Geometry Unit
- Historical Figures
- General Debates
- Follow Up to a Persuasive Writing Project (Is a bike or car better?)
The list could go on and on, and what kid doesn’t love a good debate on something they’re passionate about?
I hope you have fun with this! Please leave a comment as to how your class has used this app as a tool to support this fun learning activity!