From the Backyard to Barclays: The Marketing of Your Neighborhood

In this lesson, students examine how they can create or improve upon marketing plans for their own neighborhoods.

Jay-Z grew up in a small apartment only blocks away from a stadium of the team he now partially owns. Although not a primary owner, Jay-Z played a major role in marketing the Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets to the stadium’s surrounding community in Brooklyn. His actions were an integral part of the overall growth of a neighborhood he once called home. In this lesson, students have an opportunity to develop ways to change their own neighborhoods and communities.

Jay-Z: Agent to the Stars

Using Jay-Z’s newest business venture as an example, students learn about the business behind professional sports by acting out a contract negotiation.

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March (Math)ness: Teach probability in math to create the perfect tournament bracket


College basketball’s NCAA Tournament has long been called “March Madness” because of the unlikely outcomes in many of its games, improbable upsets by unknown teams, and the general craziness that surrounds the event.

In the week leading up to the Tournament, people all over the world fill out brackets predicting each of the 67 games that will be played. Filling out the bracket can be done in a variety of ways – from diehard basketball fans combining all their knowledge of the game to make their picks, to casual fans choosing winners based on the fearsomeness of team mascots. Who wouldn’t be scared of Sebastian the Ibis, official mascot of the Miami Hurricanes? That bird is straight-up dangerous!

Over the years, though, one thing has become clear: there’s no surefire way to predict exactly how the Tournament will turn out. There are always surprises, like when third-seeded Baylor lost to No. 14 Georgia State in the first round of the 2015 Tournament, or when No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast pulled off a shocking upset over second-seeded Georgetown in 2013.


Because of the randomness of the games, experts calculate the chance of designing a perfect bracket at approximately one in 128 billion. Men’s Fitness compiled a list of other improbable events that are more likely to occur – becoming a professional basketball player, winning the Powerball lottery jackpot, dating a supermodel, getting struck by lightning, and making a hole-in-one in golf. In other words, even if you’ve watched hundreds of hours of college basketball this season, don’t bank on predicting all the Tournament games correctly.


Billionaire Warren Buffet has offered $1 million per year for life to any of his employees who can pick even the first two rounds of the Tournament correctly, a slightly less impressive feat than predicting the whole Tournament. However, it’s safe to say that Buffet probably doesn’t have to worry about anyone winning his challenge.

The long odds of winning an NCAA Tournament bracket pool won’t stop millions of people from trying, though. You can fill out your own bracket here any time after “Selection Sunday” on March 13. Just don’t expect to pick all – or even most – of the games correctly.

The Rant: Making Sense of Mr. Bryant

In this lesson, students will imagine they are Kobe Bryant’s personal editor and use his recent Facebook rant to learn to identify mistakes in writing and compose their own essays to better express Kobe’s woes.


Movin’ On Up: Salaries in Professional Sports


Ever since the dawn of professional sports in America, a few things have remained constant. For instance, fans have always filled stadiums and arenas to see their favorite teams. Additionally, outstanding players have consistently amazed their loyal fans throughout the years. And championships have always been a big deal.

The most consistent trend in professional sports is that players have constantly earned more money than the ones that came before them. Way back in the 1930s, many Americans complained when baseball superstar Babe Ruth earned $80,000 per season, more than President Hoover made at the time. Looking back, Ruth’s salary would seem like pocket change to many modern athletes.


This year, NBA player LeBron James will earn a $24 million salary, many times more than Ruth earned in his entire career. And that doesn’t even include endorsements that will make James tens of millions of dollars more. The same is true of the top players in all the other major sports, as well. In baseball, pitcher Zack Greinke will earn over $34 million in the upcoming season. In the NFL, meanwhile, top players like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Cam Newton make more than $20 million each year.


In the hundred years since the start of Ruth’s career, player salaries have displayed a consistently increasing rate of change. Future professional athletes should be happy to know that they’ll almost certainly make more than today’s players.

The Role of Social Media During the Boston Marathon Bombings

The objective of this lesson is for students to evaluate the role of social media during times of crisis.

Americans have become no strangers to hearing about tragic news and responding to it via social media. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become places where people turn to find out what is happening on the ground during crisis situations and what they can do to help. They have also become forums for people to show support for the community that was hurt the most. The news of the Boston Marathon bombings was shared seconds after the bombs detonated. There were pictures, videos and news of the horrific event all over social network outlets before the traditional news media arrived at the scene.