Sunday, March 17, 2024

Flippity "March Madness" Bracket Template

Although I am not much of a sports fan, I can't help but notice the building excitement surrounding college basketball this time of year. With March Madness beginning, people everywhere are studying the tournament bracket and making their predictions.

Beyond sports though, the bracket format actually has a lot of educational applications for student learning. Besides college basketball teams, a wide range of topics can be placed into a bracket and then the students can compare each item to determine which they think best meets a criteria.

This can be a fun activity that ties into something they are already familiar with, while encouraging critical thinking skills and content knowledge.

There are many tools and templates for creating such a tournament bracket activity, but one excellent option is the free template provided by the Flippity website. In this blog post we will take a look at how to use the Flippity template for a March Madness style learning activity.

❓ What is Flippity?

If you aren't familiar with Flippity, it is a free website at that provides a wide range of game and activity templates that you can download, fill in with your own content, and then play online through the Flippity site.

Some of the templates include Flashcards, Timeline, Bingo, Word Search, MadLibs, Random Name Picker, and many more.

You can learn more about Flippity in general in my earlier blog post "Educational Activities and Games with Flippity".

📄 Tournament Bracket Template

You can access the free Flippity Tournament Bracket template at:

There are two template options there:

Option 1: Quick & Easy
  • Simply type in the terms you want to use in the Tournament Bracket.
  • You can separate terms with commas or line breaks.
  • Give the bracket a title.
  • Click "Generate" to get the link to your interactive bracket activity.
  • You can copy and share the link with others so they can use your bracket.

Option 2: Google Sheets
  • Step 1: Modify the Google Spreadsheet Template
    • Make a copy of the template - Google Sheets link
    • Edit the "Competitors" column with the items you want to include.
    • Change the title of your tournament by double-clicking on the tab at the bottom to change the name.
    • Do not edit any cell with a blue background.
  • Step 2: Publish Your Spreadsheet
    • Click "File" then "Share" then "Publish to Web" then click "Publish".
  • Step 3: Get Your Link
    • Click on the "Get the Link Here" tab of the template (at the bottom).
    • Click on the link to use your tournament bracket.
    • You can copy and share the link with others so they can use your bracket.

Note: For either option above, you can fill in from 4 to 64 competitors. Flippity will automatically add "byes" as needed to fill up the 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64-competitor brackets.

⚖️ Doing the Bracket Activity

Whichever method you used above, you will now have a link to your bracket activity. You can share that link with others so they can complete the activity. When anyone clicks the link, they will get an interactive tournament bracket that is pre-filled with the items you entered.

  • If you entered the strongest competitors at the top of your spreadsheet, you can press "Seed Bracket" to automatically match high-seeds against low-seeds. This ensures the most competitive matches will occur at the end of the tournament.
  • Or you can press "Randomize Bracket" to randomize the match-ups.
  • Or you can press "Reload" to return the bracket to the original order.
  • Click on a competitor to advance them to the next round. 
  • Or Ctrl + click a competitor to clear that selection.

When you are done completing your bracket, you can click the "Print" button to print out a copy or save a copy as a PDF.

💡 Ideas for Bracket Topics

You can use a wide range of topics to create educational bracket activities for students. Some examples could include:

History & Social Studies
  • Presidents: Comparing presidents based on their contributions, policies, or leadership qualities.
  • Historical Figures: Match-ups could involve inventors, civil rights leaders, explorers, or scientists, emphasizing their impact on history.
  • Wars and Battles: Students could evaluate significance, strategies, or outcomes of historical conflicts.
  • Civilizations: Ancient civilizations could be compared based on contributions to modern society, achievements, or downfall reasons.
  • Countries of the World: Compare countries based on various criteria such as geography, culture, economy, or environmental practices.
  • National Parks: Evaluate the beauty, biodiversity, or unique features of different national parks around the world.
  • Rivers or Mountains: Compare major rivers or mountains based on length, elevation, historical significance, or ecological importance.
Science & Math
  • Periodic Table Elements: Comparing elements on their properties, uses, or discovery stories.
  • Inventions: Evaluate the impact of various inventions on society, technology, or daily life.
  • Animal Species: Compare adaptations, habitats, or roles in the ecosystem.
  • Renewable Energy Sources: Debate on the efficiency, sustainability, or feasibility of different renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal.
  • Technological Advances: Debate on the most significant technological advances in history or in the modern era.
  • Mathematical Concepts: Students could argue about the importance or applicability of different mathematical principles or formulas.
Literature & Arts
  • Authors: Compare authors based on their writing styles, themes, or contributions to literature.
  • Literary Characters: Characters from novels, plays, or poems could be compared based on their complexity, development, or impact on the story.
  • Art Movements: Different art movements or styles could be compared on their influence, characteristics, or key artists.
  • Musical Genres: Students can explore and debate the cultural impact, evolution, or characteristics of various music genres.
  • Famous Paintings: Match up famous paintings to discuss their artistic significance, historical context, or emotional impact.
  • Children’s Books: Compare classic or contemporary children’s books based on their messages, illustrations, or popularity.

✅ Implementation Options

A tournament bracket activity could be done in a variety of ways, including individually or as a whole class.

If students complete it individually:
  • Each student could make their choices and complete the bracket.
  • Then they could provide a rationale for their choices.
  • If there are too many choices to defend each one, they could at least give their arguments for their "Elite 8" or "Final Four".
If students complete it as a class:
  • They could have class debates on their choices.
  • They could vote as a class to see who wins each matchup.
Of course the students could complete the bracket individually first, and then also do the whole class activity.

Post by Eric Curts
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