Science March Madness Activity: Famous Scientists & Inventors Tournament

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Surviving Social Studies
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What educators are saying

These puzzles were FABULOUS!!!! My kids love these and always ask for more. Thank you so much for creating and sharing with the rest of us!!


As a middle school teacher, it can definitely be a challenge to keep middle schoolers engaged and on-task as the year comes to a close or when the excitement of March Madness is in the air. A friend who is a science teacher in the same district I work in asked me about my U.S. History Tournament of Champions and if I would make one for famous scientists and inventors - so here it is!

I came up with the idea of a tournament bracket hoping that a little fun-spirited competition would help during March Madness or during the last week of school, and I was so glad that it did! This tournament is four days of students on-task and will always be my go-to activity during the last week of school!

It was so powerful going from me telling kids what was important to hearing them tell me what they felt was important.

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Please note - I have made this bracket fully editable for you with instructions, but you will need MS PowerPoint to open/edit the Tournament Bracket and MS Publisher to add/change possible contenders

I chose 100 people from the field of Science that made a big impact - for good or for bad. Included is an NCAA March Madness style tournament bracket, which is fully-editable. Students will work in pairs to prepare a persuasive speech on why the class should vote for their topic. The first day of the actual tournament, during the Sweet 16 round, I have the class vote on each topic after the two groups present and then I tally the scores. The winners are announced and the Elite 8 bracket is established. On the second day of the actual tournament, the time for each speech is lessened which allows you to get through the Elite 8, Final Four, and possibly the championship round. This has been my Tuesday through Friday final activity of the year, which is during the last week before finals.

This tournament is SO much fun for us so I hope you and your students enjoy it as well!

Table of contents:

1 page: 100 Possible Choices (.pdf)

1 page: Tournament Bracket Categories (PowerPoint)

1 page: Editable Tournament Bracket (PowerPoint)

1 page: Tournament Time Line (.pdf)

1 page: How to Create a Bracket Instructions (.pdf)

6 pages: Instructions/Writing Pages (.pdf)

100 pages: Images/Names of Scientific Figures (.pdf)

The Contenders:

Alvarez, Luis | Ampère, André-Marie | Anaximander | Archimedes | Aristotle | Avicenna | Avogadro, Amedeo | Banting, Frederick | Bell, Alexander Graham |Berens-Lee, Tim | Bernoulli, Daniel | Bessemer, Henry | Bohr, Neils | Boykin, Otis | Brown, Marie van Brittan | Bunsen, Robert | Carson, Rachel | Carver, George Washington | Celsius, Anders | Cooper, Martin | Copernicus, Nicolaus | Crick, Francis | Curie, Marie | Curie, Pierre | da Vinci, Leonardo | Dalton, John | Darwin, Charles | Davy, Humphrey | Diesel, Rudolf | Dirac, Paul | Dobereiner, Johann Wolfgang | Doppler, Christian | Drew, Charles | Edison, Thomas | Einstein, Albert | Elion, Gertrude B. | Euclid | Fahrenheit, Daniel Gabriel | Faraday, Michael | Fermi, Enrico | Feynman, Richard | Fick, Adolf | Fleming, Alexander | Franklin, Benjamin | Franklin, Rosalind | Galilei, Galileo | Gates, Bill | Goddard, Robert | Hahn, Otto | Harvey, William | Hawking, Stephen | Heisenberg, Werner | Henry, William | Hertz, Heinrich | Hodgkin, Dorothy | Hodgkin, Thomas | Holmes, Thomas | Hooke, Robert | Hopper, Grace | Hubble, Edwin | Jenner, Edward | Jobs, Steve | Johnson, Katherine | Joule, James | Jump Cannon, Annie | Kepler, Johan | Koch, Robert | Latimer, Lewis | Lavoisier, Antoine | Libby, Willard | Marconi, Guglielmo | Maxwell, James Clark | McClintock, Barbara | McCoy, Elijah | Mendeleev, Dmitri | Morgan, Garrett | Morse, Samuel F.B. | Moseley, Henry | Newton, Sir Isaac | Ohm, Georg | Oppenheimer, J. Robert | Pascal, Blaise | Pasteur, Louis | Planck, Max | Plato | Raman, C.V. | Ramsey, William | Röntgen, Wilhelm | Rutherford, Daniel | Rutherford, Ernest | Salk, Jonas | Teller, Edward | Tesla, Nikola | Tharp, Marie | Thomas, William | van Leeuwenhoek, Anton | Volta, Allesandro | Watson, James | Watt, James | Wright Brothers

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Copyright ©Surviving Social Studies. All rights reserved by author. This product is to be used by the original downloader only. Copying for more than one teacher, classroom, department, school, or school system is prohibited. This product may not be distributed or displayed digitally for public view. Failure to comply is a copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Clipart and elements found in this PDF are copyrighted and cannot be extracted and used outside of this file without permission or license. Intended for classroom and personal use ONLY.

Total Pages
111 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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