Every two years our nation is treated to the Olympic events of winter and then of summer. Incorporating these games into a student’s school lessons as an fun unit study is a practical way to spark an interest in learning a whole gamut of topics:
Physical Education-What a great way to introduce the different sports, rules, and training regiments; as well as character traits of good sportsmanship. It might even be a good time to initiate a physical testing event, too. (See this testing according to National standards project.)
Geography-Post a map or keep a globe handy and encourage the children to locate the different countries represented by the athletes they are watching. Using gold, silver, and bronze push pins or stickers is a fun way to mark the medals earned for each country.
History-Read about the history of the Olympics. Also, many times during the human interest stories, the commentator will refer to an event or war that happened in a particular athlete’s country. Take time at that moment to Google that historical event and read about it with your child. What better way to learn about such events than to connect them with a live person on TV who actually experienced it.
Math-Challenge your student to try out the Olympic Math Playground online, interactive game.
Science-Google an anatomy chart to locate the different muscles or tendons that are talked about by the commentators. This is especially interesting to a child when an athlete he has been watching refers to an injury or rehabilitation that he has had to endure.
Patriotism-During a medal ceremony in which an American athlete receives a gold, explain the proper way to stand during the National Anthem as well as respectful flag etiquette.
Music– While watching the Olympics, it would be a wonderful time to teach Beethoven’s Ode to Joy- the Olympic march for athletes. Children will love it when they watch the games and recognize and identify the “tune” they have learned.
Arts, Crafts, and Projects-Depending upon the child’s age, the following are some fun projects to go along with a unit study on the Olympics:
- Make an Olympic Torch out of hand prints. (See printable lesson plan.)
- Keep a graph of various countries’ medals using gold, silver, and bronze colors. (Lesson plan.)
- Design paper cup flags on a chain link fence. (Lesson plan.)
- Make a paper chain out of the colors of the five Olympic rings.