Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Olympic Activities You Can Do

The Olympics bring back very fond childhood memories for me. Every four years, I'd be glued to the TV watching the various competitions. Today, with all the options available, the Olympics is still something I look forward to. (The pageantry of the Opening Ceremonies is far more exciting to me than the Super Bowl!) My husband and I enjoy sharing this experience with our 3 girls.

As an educator, I see the possibility for Olympic-themed academic activities. Math and science are at the top of the list, with a healthy does of social studies and ELA not far behind. I was inspired by the article "8 Ways to Celebrate the Winter Games in Your Classroom" written by Jenn Horton on the We Are Teachers site. Jenn did a wonderful job of pulling together 8 ways you can explore more about the Olympics and include it into your classroom. I encourage you to check out her article. 

I created a Google Sheet that you can make your own copy and share with your students. I included an activity for each of the main content areas and left it open enough that students of all ages can attempt at least one of them. 
Feel free to make your own copy and adjust it as you wish for your students → [LINK to "5 Olympic Activities You Can Do"

Shout out to Tony Vincent for his tip on making Google Apps preview-able templates! 💖 !

Activity #1: Math - a Google Sheet is a great place to work on graphing skills. I tried to do the "heavy lifting" on this one so even our littlest learners can take part. All that needs to be done is select 5 countries and then tally their medals won by typing a "1" in the cell. 

Activity #2: Geography - a Google Sheet can become a collection of information where data can be entered and then compared across, in this
case, the 5 countries you are collecting data about medals won. To take it a step even further, I wonder if students can make any predictions beforehand (or analyze after) if size of the country or population has an impact on number of medals won? Or leave it open for students to make their thoughts.

Activity #3: Science - a Google Sheet is again a collector of data. This time in more of a narrative rather than snippets of information/data. Watching videos produced by the National Science Foundation on the "Science of the Olympics" is very intriguing! And keeping the responses open ended allow students to stretch themselves. Who knew the role friction played in the sport of curling!?!?

Activity #4: ELA - a Google Sheet to collect biographical information. Two links are given - one for American athletes and one for current and former Olympic athletes - to give students a place to start. The Sheet provides some ideas for information to be collected while leaving the rest wide open so students are encouraged to record information that interests them.

Activity #5: creativity - a Google Sheet will be the landing page for a very wide-open activity.  Too often I see very structured activities for students with very little freedom in the selection or creation process. When presented with freedom, some students tend to "freeze" and produce nothing. What I've come to realize is that we need to provide some of this wide-open time for students. They might just surprise us! 

Other Suggested Olympic Activities You Can Do:

  • Winter Olympics 2018 Hyperdoc that I came across on Twitter from Heather Breedlove (@hblove03). It looks awesome! 12 different squares with various activities around the theme of the 2018 Olympics. [LINK]
  • readwritethink's website has several Olympic activities ranging from being a reporter during the Opening or Closing Ceremonies to making cookies in the shape of the Olympic rings! [LINK]
  • ActivityVillage.co.uk shares hands-on activities, puzzles, recipes, printable activities, short tidbits of information, and more! (Did you know an Olympiad is a period of 4 years? Hence the traditional interval between Olympic games?)
  • National Geographic Kids has a pretty cool website with links to countries in the Olympics, facts, & even some games you can play ... I was an Arctic Fox snowboarding!
  • Coding the Olympics by Heidi Nelter  [LINK]. Super cool coding activities abut the Olympics!

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