Block science students participate in March Mammal Madness


photo courtesy of

2018 March Mammal Madness Logo

Zoya Ahmed, Feature Editor

As March comes to an end, many think of college basketball. Inspired by the NCAA College Basketball tournament, March Mammal Madness (MMM) is an annual tournament created in 2013 by Professor Katie Hinde of Arizona University. The MMM is a contest in which animals compete in a bracket like basketball – but in virtual fights- until there is a winner. There are four themed sections in the bracket, and this year’s themes are “Antecessors”, or endangered species, “Urban Jungle”, “Great Adaptations”, and “When the Kat’s Away”, a special region featuring non-mammals.

This year, RHS science teacher Mrs. Sara Rosell had her Block Science students participate in the 6th annual MMM.

“I learned about MMM a couple years back from some colleagues at Stoney Creek High School,” Mrs. Rosell said. “I hadn’t put much thought into it, but this year I decided to try it out– I am so glad I did.”

Each animal participating in the MMM is researched thoroughly, and based on their characteristics, they are placed in a certain bracket. The animals with a higher probability of winning have a higher seed number, but the real winner is chosen randomly by a generator.

“My favorite part [about MMM] is listening to my students talk and debate about which animal is going to win and why,” said Mrs. Rosell. “The conversations are such great ‘science talk’ and students display their knowledge of each animal through these discussions.”

The MMM inspires students to learn more about the animals and understand their characteristics and traits.

“I love MMM– it’s really got students talking and intensely debating and thinking about beneficial characteristics each organism has,” Mrs. Rosell stated. “It’s a great way for students to see structure, function and environment relationships and why some animals have the characteristics they do.”

To make the challenge even harder, most of the animals chosen are not commonly heard of, such as the Tasmanian Devil and the Tardigrade. This provides a learning opportunity for both adults and children, teachers and students.

“It [MMM] also exposes students to animals they may have never heard of or had heard of but didn’t know much about,” said Mrs. Rosell. “I think most students enjoy it [and] they seem pretty passionate about who they chose as their winners.”

Just like college basketball, MMM has a bracket, with different rounds including the Elite Trait (Elite Eight) and Final Roar (Final Four). There were also many upsets throughout the tournament.

“[I’m on] #teamtardigrade,” stated Mrs. Rosell. “Although, I am not sure that’s going to happen now that it’s #teamtardiconda.”

A play-by-play of the battle is posted on their Twitter and Facebook pages, with the location, timing, and characteristics of the animals taken into account. The Final Roar is taking place on Monday, April 2. To find out who the winners are, don’t forget to tune onto MMM’s twitter page (@2018MMMletsgo) at 8:30 p.m.

“I am so glad I decided to try this out,” Mrs. Rosell said. “I can’t wait to see what happens.”