Every year I get my students excited about the NCAA Men's Basketball March Madness Tournament. I see articles written year after year from statisticians, sports journalist, celebrities, etc. about predicting the perfect bracket. Regardless that most have accepted it is nearly impossible, it has not deterred these enthusiast from finding an algorithm or a machine that can predict the outcomes.
This packet guides students through
1) An explanation of what March Madness is all about
2) A reading about the probability of creating a perfect bracket and how statistics can help to increase our odds
3) The theoretical and experimental probability of each seed winning the championship
4) Statistics of different seeds successes in past games
The students work through the packet reading, and anazlyzing data to answer the questions. They are then given a note page to research and find statistics about the current years teams.
After students have completed the packets (and after selection Sunday), they work in groups to create their perfect brackets.
My students love this activity so much that they hear from my former students and are always asking about it. They get extremely into it. I love it 1) Because I love March Madness 2) The students practice probability and analyzing data and 3) I teach them about professions that analyze statistics such as this for sports or other fields like politics.
If my students love it this much, I'm positive your students will as well!