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Top 12 Olympic Lessons & Classroom Activities

TeachHUB Blog

To help you make the Olympics a learning experience in your classroom, here are some teacher-favorite, Olympics-inspired ideas for lessons, classroom management techniques and fun classroom activities.

Olympic Lesson: Language Arts

Olympics Poetry

List 7 pairs of Olympic-themed rhymes. It could do with your sport, athletics, competition, international relations, patriotism, etc.

 Use those rhymes to write an Olympic sonnet (14-lines). Remember that the last couplet usually adds a twist to the poem’s meaning.

Sports Writing

Get those cub sports writers in gear with a reporting assignment. While you watch the coverage of the Olympics, students should record the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, why and how) and write down quotes to include in an article.

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Sports Writing Tips:

  • Start with a strong lead: the first sentence that catches the readers’ attention and gives an idea about what the story is about.
  • The next paragraph should give a broader explanation of what happened. This should be the "thesis" of the article.
  • From there, include the most important details first and the less important details last. This is called the “inverted pyramid” writing style.

For younger students, they can focus on writing headlines that wrap up the announcement using descriptive adjectives.

Olympic Lessons: Social Studies

Sportsmanship Advice

With so many countries interacting, students can help London-ers welcome the athletes and fans from other countries and demonstrate good sportsmanship.

Have students write a letter to future American Olympians giving them advice on how to behave properly as hosts or guests in Olympic host countries.

Researching Competing Countries

Assign students different countries competing in the games to research. The focus, depth and breadth of this research will obviously depend on the subject and grade level you teach.

 To focus the project, you may want to have students focus on their historical involvement with the Olympics, the leading national sports, flags, emblems and other ways they represent themselves internationally and customs they would recognize if they met Olympians from that region.

Explore Your Olympic Dreams

Check out the Olympic lesson plans on the Pop Culture Printables page, including the Olympic Dreams printable.

Sign up for the free subscription for the latest activities and archives that includes activities based on Michael Phelps and other Olympic stars.

Olympic Lessons: Math

Olympics Go Fantasy

For students or co-workers, start a pool or Olympics fantasy team to keep an ongoing medal count. Individual students or teams can get assigned a country or can draft specific athletes. Assign a point system to medals (that will vary by grade level) and have students work out the stats as an ongoing math activity. You can get help tracking on the Fantasy Olympian website.

 If you want to try this throughout the school year, you can also convert this for any sports season, using different teams’ stats. For examples of different ways to allot points, check out the options on the Yahoo! Fantasy page.

(Disclaimer: The K-12 Teachers Alliance and TeachHUB.com do not promote or condone illegal gambling of any kind).

 Word Problems

The Let’s Play Math blog put together a great list of Olympic word problems and games this summer.

Olympic Lessons: Science

Fire-Bearer

If you were tasked with keeping the Olympic torch lit as runners brought it through your state, what materials would you sustain the fire? What material would make the base that the runner will have to hold? Be sure to explain why those materials are the best choice.

BodyWorks

Olympians’ bodies work like well-oiled machines. After reviewing the different body systems, assign students a relevant body system (individually or in groups) to explain how that body system contributes to the athlete’s ability to compete.

  • Circulatory System (heart, blood, vessels)
  • Respiratory System (nose, trachea, lungs)
  • Immune System (many types of protein, cells, organs, tissues)
  • Skeletal System (bones)
  • Excretory System (lungs, large intestine, kidneys)
  • Urinary System (bladder, kidneys)
  • Muscular System (muscles)
  • Endocrine System (glands)
  • Digestive System (mouth, esophogus, stomach, intestines)
  • Nervous System (brain, spinal cord, nerves)
  • Reproductive System (male and female reproductive organs)

Going the Distance

Adjust equation problems dealing with speed, distance, velocity and acceleration according to Olympic statistics.

Olympic Lessons: Behavior & Classroom Management

Passing the Torch & Gold-Medal Behavior

To control classroom discussion, only the torch-bearer can talk.

 

Break your classes into teams and assign them a country. Track points for good behavior and deduct for infractions. At the end of the week, month or term, the gold medalists will earn extra credit or special privileges.

Encourage New Clubs

The Olympics promote fitness and get kids more involved by exposing students to the wide variety of sports in the summer games. Maybe your students will start the school’s first archery club or Taekwondo club.

For more Olympic-inspired lesson plans, check out: 

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/Olympics.htm

 How will you use the Olympics to inspire students? Share in the comments section!