Even if it’s not an Olympics year, the Olympics can be a great classroom theme.
Olympics theme bulletin boards can always say, “Go for the Gold!”
- Visit the Olympics website. As of this writing, it’s showing Pyeongchang.
- Work on visual intelligence and reading charts with the Olympics schedule. Divide students into teams and have each team develop questions about the schedule such as, “Which is earlier, the medal events for the Modern Triathlon or the medal events for road cycling?” Swap questions (have each team keep their own answers!) and see which team can find the most correct answers in 15 minutes.
- Check out Olympics printables at Activity Village.
The Olympics were first recorded in 776 BC, when they consisted of just one race, and continued until 393 AD when they were abolished. The modern Olympic Games began in 1896. Add these dates to the classroom timeline.
Create your own classroom Olympic games! See the sports icons from the 1960s through 2018 on the winter sports pictograms page and the summer sports pictograms page. Choose some and change them up with classroom-suitable activities for your competition. Make teams and keep track of scores throughout your Classroom Olympics. In each competition, let one team serve as judges; rotate so each team gets a chance to judge. Let students be creative about substitutions. Here are our ideas:
- Archery: On-Target Adjectives Provide 10 simple sentences (“The boy sat at the desk,” “The girls have a dog”) in a Pocket Chart. Students add appropriate adjectives. Judge on the basis of the number of adjectives, the appropriateness and creativity of the choices, and the naturalness of the resulting sentences.
- Canoe Sprint: Cooperative Accomplishments Give teams tasks like preparing a bulletin board, getting the classroom ready for the end of the day, or passing out and picking up art supplies. Judge on even division of labor, smoothness of the process, and speed and success of completing the task.
- Diving: Division Drills Have students line up and solve division problems on the board in relay format. Judge on speed and accuracy, as well as sportsmanship.
- Rowing: Boat Building Project Have students create boats of paper and either get them across the classroom floor without directly touching them or across a wading pool filled with water, again without directly touching them. Students can paddle the water, blow on the boats, or use any other method that doesn’t require direct contact with the boat. Judge on speed, success at crossing the space, and creativity of the solution.
- Table Tennis We’d really play table tennis. Sportcraft Anywhere Table Tennis Set lets you play right on an ordinary table.
Choosing half a dozen activities that work on varied skills gives everyone a chance to play and to win.
Other Olympics lessons and activities:
- Olympics math challenges
- Winter Olympics math includes activities centering on the Olympics telecast as well as activities you can do at any time.
- A collection of Olympics-themed lesson plans
- Denise Gaskins has a logic problem with an Olympics theme.