I also have tournaments set up for those of you who teach world history and have one that focuses on scientists and inventors, too. These could be a great way to use as an interdisciplinary unit between social studies and science or ELA.
How I conduct my American History Tournament of Champions is by first presenting this information to students during March Madness even though we won’t have out tournament until the end of the year. This gives students plenty of time to conduct their research so there isn’t so much pressure. It also gives them something to look forward to and allows you to have something for them to work on if you have a lesson that left you with some time at the end of class.
Students typically work in pairs and choose a person/group/invention/event from the list provided, conduct research, and then write speeches to try and advance their topic to the next round. Everything is laid out in the instructions!
I sweeten the tournament by showing students the following prizes for making it through the different levels of the bracket:
This year, I'll explain to my students how I normally would run the tournament pre-COVID and see if I can get some student-helpers to figure out how we can do this with some students virtual and some students in person. Plus, they are usually way better with technology strategies than I am!
I hope you enjoy one of these tournaments with your own students, too
All the best,
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies