Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics will begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea just over a week.  This international sports competition provides exciting, multidisciplinary opportunities for learning. Starting with a story is an engaging way to introduce the topic.

Elympics, by X.J. Kennedy is a fun book of poems about both the Summer and Winter Olympics.  Sharing the winter-sport poems with my warm-climate students helped them understand what happens in several of the unfamiliar events.  Other fiction stories that can also work to introduce your Olympic learning theme include Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester and Snowman Paul at the Winter Olympics by Yossi Lapid.

Students will also enjoy perusing a pile of non-fiction books about Olympics, Olympians, and Olympic events.  A few good titles to share are A Kid's Guide to the 2018 Winter Games by Jack L. Roberts, Z Is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet by Matt Napier, Freeze Frame: A Photographic History of the Winter Olympics by Sue Macy or the latest issue of Sports Illustrated Kids magazine.  Students may also be interested in reading Paralympic Sports Events by Robin Johnson to learn how athletes with disabilities are involved in the Olympics.

To get your own copy of the world flags I used in the book display shown above, visit Mr. Printables.  Print two sets, and you'll have a beautiful flag matching game that can be used even when the Olympic season has passed.  Older students can enjoy the more challenging activity of sorting the flags by continent.  The flags can also be used in a large bar graph where students can tally the medals earned by each country.

For science, students can simulate ramps used in sports such as luge, skiing, snowboarding, and bobsledding using classroom supplies and toy cars or figurines.  Learners will have fun observing races using diffent ramp heights and textures as variables.

The official Olympics webpage offers many additional educational materials that may be helpful in your classroom or learning environment.  Useful items include Healthy Body Image videos, The Olympic Journey (an interactive tool that traces the Olympics from its ancient roots to its modern incarnation), and Time and Sport (a multimedia timeline of Olympic history).

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