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Teaching with the Olympics

I spent many of my teaching years next door to a teacher who "taught" with every sports event televised.  He showed basketball games, football games, and even local golf events that were shown on our local channels.  Now, if he were a math teacher, I could have seen the powerful lessons building in the classroom.  But he was like me, a Social Studies teacher, charged with teaching our students about our government, our country, and our world.  In my humble opinion, he was an epic FAIL!

But then comes along something like the Olympic Games.  This is a Social Studies lesson waiting to be explored.  It is a worldwide event that is gaining the attention of our students with the exciting sports competitions, the extravagant celebrations, and the news reports surrounding the safety of the international visitors to Sochi, Russia.

So, what can you do that will still address your state and district standards?  Try these ideas:
  • Examine the geography of the Olympics.  Where is Sochi, Russia?  What is the physical geography of this location?  How may the physical geography affect the games?
  • Trace the competitors of the Olympics.  Where are the American competitors from in the United States?  Map the locations and compare their challenges in preparing for their sports competitions.
  • Where have the games been held before?  Practice identifying countries or tracing latitude and longitude to keep your students' skills sharp.
  • What is the history of the Olympics?  When did it first begin?  What was its purpose then?  What is its purpose now?
  • How have the Olympics impacted the regions where they have been held?  What are the costs incurred in hosting the Olympics?  What are the benefits for a country to be host?
  • Investigate current events.  How do the Olympics impact other world events?  Is terrorism an issue at the games?
And there are so many other options for you!  Make it fun!  Keep it engaging!

My grand-baby after her first performance!

And remember, the Olympics starts with a dream for each of the athletes.  What was your dream as a child?  What are your students' dreams?   Why are these dreams important?

Oh, so many relevant lessons to learn!

Happy Teaching!
Michele