As a review technique, AP Psychology classes used a March Madness-style bracket to determine the most influential psychologist.
Teacher Carolyn Fay is a big March Madness fan and thought tapping into this theme would be a fun way to prepare students for the AP test. In the first round of her "competition," each girl in her classes was assigned a "match-up" of two psychologists. Students had to conduct research on them and determine which had the greater impact, or who "won." In the second round, girls created presentations for classmates on why they chose their winning psychologist and why they should vote for him or her to advance to the next round. The class then selected the winners, and this process continued in a similar fashion until just one psychologist prevailed in each AP Psychology section.
The bracket-style review helped students see important figures in the field in a new light and gave them a chance to take an in-depth look at their strengths and weaknesses.
Both classes ended up with different finalists. One class chose Sigmund Freud vs. B.F. Skinner, and Skinner, presented by Ify Iloka ’17, emerged as the victor. The second class had a less traditional final matchup: Paul Costa vs. Philip Zimbardo. Presented by Emma Kaden ’17, Zimbardo won by one vote.
“I hope students were better able to understand what each psychologist accomplished, but also what he or she could have done better. And that the field of psychology is constantly improving and trying to do better to make research more scientific and valid,” says Carolyn.