Friday, April 27, 2012

The OLYMPICS--A Teaching Opportunity In All Content Areas!

With the summer Olympics fast approaching, teachers may want to bring it into their classes in some unusual ways. 

First, teachers may want to have students look at the history of the games.  Here you will find a short animated cartoon on it.  It covers its earliest origins in just enough detail for students (about 8 minutes).  All main points are addressed in student friendly fashion while also delivering content.  In this same section, students can also get the names of every medalist going back to 1896.

Second, if you teach world history, you will enjoy taking a look at clips of past Olympic games going back to 1896.  I spent some time looking at the 1936 games.  The video clip is 2 minutes 25 seconds long and focuses not only on Jesse Owens, but on Jesse's German rival who helped him to qualify for the long jump.  In fact, the two remained friends until Jesse's friend was killed in World War 2.  Take whatever time period you are covering and weave in the games!  Another plus here is that ELLs will feel validated when their country is covered as a past host country.  Imagine being Mexican and seeing how Mexico welcomed the games back in 1968!

Third, if mathematics is the focus, why not look at any one of the 35 SPORTS (Winter OR Summer) and pick one the students like.  Create questions with more than one correct answer if possible such as "How much faster should the number two person have run so that he could have won?" "At what angle, should the bow have been raised so the arrow would hit the target?  (archery)"  Have students try making up their own math questions.  ELLs can fully participate here since drawing out sketches with numbers would be the basics needed to make their case:)

Fourth, if you teach science, take a look at the summer or winter games to show science in action.  If it is the winter games, try the luge events.  How does the knowledge of physics add excitement to luge?  If skiing is a favorite, how does one score a gold using science?

OLYMPICS  This site has so much more than I could address here.  Explore it and share it with your students.  It is truly an inspirational site.



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