March Mammal Madness Begins


The brackets for 2022 version of March Mammal Madness.

March Mammal Madness (MMM) is a competition for high school students and staff to learn about biology and chemistry by simulating battles between living organisms. 

The competition is a requirement for Biology 9 and Chemistry 10 students but this year is open to everyone in HS. Anyone interested can talk to science teacher David Schas to have a bracket.

“This year is literally open for everyone, I mean, staff, students, anyone that wants to participate,” David Schas, Chemistry teacher and MMM Organizer, said

The competition began in 2012 and is hosted by the Arizona State University. They take different categories of organisms such as mammals and birds and sort them by their characteristics and general information about each. The battles are fought in youtube videos and are posted weekly.

“It’s a world wide program that in some ways is very silly and cool,” Arianna Sophiea, 9th  Grade Biology Teacher, said.

Battles are fought between two completely different organisms in different rounds. The results are taken considering several abiotic factors that affect the outcome and relate to biology and chemistry at the same time. Last year’s winner was a kangaroo.

“Thinking about habitats, abiotic factors, things like temperature, water, how sustainable the land is, all that stuff is chemistry,” Schas said. 

The High School Science Department implemented this event 2 years ago in order to make learning about biology more fun and interactive in their academic program. Students are motivated because the battles make students debate about the results. 

“I liked it a lot when I participated in 9th grade, we used to have a lot of fun in groups predicting the results and betting on it,” Jacobo Mantilla, Grade 10, said. 

While many students believe that the event is a fun way to learn, others say that if it was not a requirement they wouldn’t be involved. However, students who have learned the material in class have a better idea about who will win each fight and do better in the brackets. 

“Honestly I don’t think it is very useful, in class it is very fun because it is a different way of learning, but outside of class I wouldn’t do it,” Maria Echeverri, Grade 10, said. 

Participating students complete a variety of tasks such as researching organisms, filling out brackets and using their knowledge to take a good guess on which organism will win. 

“You can not really have a summative grade based on who is going to win because there’s always upsets. If somebody ends up making a battle in the ocean, the one that can’t swim is going to drawn, so you can’t do that as a summative grade,” Sophiea said.

Some teachers grade this as a formative assignment as they believe that students should not be graded on their accuracy but on their preparation. Others give a summative grade. 

“The goal is that kids are participating and giving their best shot,” Schas said.