What is March Mammal Madness?

Congratulations, teacher friend, welcome to the 11th edition of March Mammal Madness! This is easily my favorite time of the year. Learn more about #2023MMM and join the madness. 

What is March Mammal Madness?

March Mammal Madness is an entirely FREE event put together by a wonderful group of educators. The brainchild of Professor Katie Hinde from Arizona State University, who was inspired (but not affiliated with) the NCAA Basketball March Madness Competition. 

MMM, for short, takes animal species from around the world and has them simulate combat competitions, bracket-style, to become the victorious mammal of the year. 

Much work is put into this competition. The professionals who put together this extensive tournament conduct countless hours of research to ensure that the competitions consider the habitat, behavior, size, temperament, body mass, running speed, motivation, and fight style. 

What do students learn during MMM?

I have used #2023MMM with my grade 6, 7, and 8 students. I have read that teachers have used it with students as young as preschool all the way through high school. There are many ways to adapt to be able to use the March Mammal Madness in your classroom. 

Although it may not seem like it because so much fun is embedded into March Mammal Madness, lots of learning is actually taking place. 

Students will learn about life around them and connect to the real world. #2023MMM has scientific information embedded in all its videos during the battles. Students are educated on: 

  • inter-species interactions,
  • the importance of ecological context,
  • how natural selection has shaped adaptations, and
  • conservation management of endangered species.

How do I get started using #MMM2023 in my classroom?

One of the crucial parts of MMM is the prep work. Educator materials have been sent out that contain information to help your students prepare for MMM. 

There is also a bracket for your students to fill in.

Completing the prep work helps students make informed predictions of battle outcomes. 

One way to prepare students is by using a Google Slide presentation. Students can use the presentation to complete their bracket. 

There are four divisions: 

  • Mighty Stripes,
  • Itty Bitty Comeback City,
  • Animal Engineers,
  • Dad Bods

How much class time is needed for March Mammal Madness?

As stated before, prep work is an essential part of this tournament. Once students have filled out their brackets, class time will be needed to watch the MMM tournament through the Rodent Roundtable play out. 

In the beginning, looking at the calendar above, the first and second rounds will usually contain a video about 8-10 minutes in length. 

As the tournament moves along, there are fewer battles which means the videos will be shorter. 

In my classroom, I give my students two class periods to fill out their brackets using a Google Slide presentation that I created. (Scroll below for ACCESS to this presentation.) Students will be using critical reading and thinking skills to make informed decisions about which animal will win the battle. Students need to consider the animal and the competition’s environment. Some animals may have an advantage due to their environment. For example, one of the past battles had a mouse against a dolphin in the ocean. Students should use the information presented to them to make an evidence-based prediction.  

Battles in rounds one and two will occur in the higher-seeded animal’s habitat. Elite Trait, Final Roar, and Championship will have randomized locations, making it a bit harder to predict an outcome. 

Oh, and be careful… because there will be upsets! 


What about the bracket?

Students have a lot of fun filling out the bracket. Here are some things to note: 

  • Rounds 1-3, the better seed (lower number = better seed), gets HOME HABITAT ADVANTAGE
  • Rounds 4-6 (Elite Trait, Final Roar, & Championship), the battle “locale” is randomized among Montane Forest, Kelp Forest, Savanna, &  Sea Ice.

Locations matter! Having Home Habitat Advantage is a perk and can help win the battle.

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