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Local Students Add Math To March Madness

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

RickDayton Rick Dayton
Rick Dayton joined KDKA in September 2009 as a morning news anchor. ...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In one week, the college basketball world will be caught up in the hoop-hoopla that is the NCAA Tournament.

Before that happens though, KDKA’s Rick Dayton went to North Allegheny High School where the math department is using “March Madness” to show kids how it all adds up.

“Some of the stuff we do, I have no idea when I am going to use it later in life,” said Billy Gingrich, a junior at North Allegheny.

The students are cranking up to crunch the numbers.

“We did it with the lower-level kids to try and make that connection,” said Mike Booker, a math teacher at North Allegheny. “This is how you are going to use this, and when we first did that the other classes came in and they saw all the stuff on the walls and said ‘Whoa! Why aren’t we doing this?’ And then, the next year we evolved it to the courses.”

Before this year’s brackets are born, the kids at North Allegheny High School are madly putting math statistics to work.

“I have really learned a lot about it over the last eight or nine years we have been doing it,” Joy Manesiotis, another math teacher, added. “It’s just really interesting to see how some years the statistics are right on and you predict the national champion, and then the upsets come and no one can predict those.”

A lot of strategy goes into picking your brackets, especially if you play the game.

“Go out on a limb sometimes and think about who has been playing well instead of looking at the stats and making a good decision,” said Adam Haus, a North Allegheny basketball player.

“One of the key places I look at is points per game,” added Dan Sofranko, another student. “If they are a higher scoring team they obviously are going to make it farther in the tournament.”

“To use a quote from an old football coach that was around here, Chuck Noll said ‘Whatever it takes,’” said Booker. “If we can get them to have fun and make a connection with math and we got to trick them with this project then so be it. Whatever it takes.”

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