Making madness in March Mammal Madness


Photo provided by: Am

March Mammal Madness is directed and created by Professor Katie Hinde of Arizona State University and started on March 13.

Amelia Galliford, Staff Reporter

A shrew mole versus a bumblebee bat, an emperor penguin against a lined seahorse and a striped rabbit versus a numbat. These crazy combinations are part of the educational activity known as March Mammal Madness. The competitions began on Mar. 13 starting with the Wild Card Winner.

Created and directed by Professor Katie Hinde of Arizona State University, March Mammal Madness is meant to be something fun to do in the classroom while simultaneously learning about different animals and the environments they are from. To play, students predict the winning chances based on factors such as body mass, animal location, motivations, speed and fighting style. The fights between the animals do not actually happen, but are simulated. 

“I think it’s really fun,” sophomore Kaylee Graham said. “Especially doing it in class because you get to interact with other students on a more competitive level as you compare who got the most right and ideas on the end results.”

March Mammal Madness has the ability to teach students about new animals as well as the environments that they live in. Students have to account for all parts of an animal to determine if an animal will win. For example, problems like overfishing, dogs without leashes and other interferences factor into an animal’s chances.

“Every single year there’s some new animal I’ve never heard of before, like an itjaritjari,” biology teacher Cassandra Quinn said. “What the heck is an itjaritjari? I did not know until this year. So I think anybody who gets involved in it can learn at least one new animal that they haven’t heard of or maybe don’t know about. There’s so much opportunity for learning something new, to the point where even as a bio teacher who’s been doing this for five years, I learn something new every single time.”

There have been many upsets throughout the competition, some more unexpected than others. They have brought the competition into its final match.

“I’m upset about some of the upsets that have happened,” freshman Tiana Hall said. “But I’m happy that my top competitor is still in the running.”

The last two competitors are the okapi and the wolverine. Participants are waiting in anticipation for the final match because of how far these competitors have come compared to where they started.

“I kind of want the wolverine to win,” sophomore Anllela Diaz Blanco said. “It’s been really fun so far, but I have not been getting that many correct guesses.”