On the final two days of our Sports and Games mini-unit, my students learned about the Olympic Games. They were excited to learn about the history, but were also engaged as we completed science and math activities. It was especially interesting to see the students make connections to their Foss Science units of Air and Weather and Balance and Motion. As a literacy extension, the children learned about the goals set by athletes hoping to make it to the London 2012 games, and the commitment it takes to achieve these goals. The students completed a writing assignment about what event they might like to compete in, and what they think it would take to be part of the Olympics. Some students even created new events, complete with rules and diagrams.
Download "If I Were and Olympian" writing prompt here.
As a final piece, the students created a patriotic decoration they could display throughout the summer: Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and during the Olympics. I let each student choose a piece of construction paper for a background, and the rest of the paper came from our scrap collection. The students were given minimal directions, and had creative freedom to design a "Olympic poster". Many of the students included the Olympic rings and the torch into their designs. When the posters were complete, each student chose 12 strips of paper that I had them glue to the bottom. Since I wanted the outcome to be a surprise, I did not tell them why - they all thought I was crazy! After this step, I had them curl the poster into a tube and glue. We then added a string hanger to the top, and all of the kids figured it out: a paper wind sock. I love mystery projects, because the kids have to listen carefully to directions if they want to get to the final product. These turned out great. We sent them home with their writing piece, and many of the kids even attached their writing to the final project. I told them to display them with pride, and one of my students replied, "Olympic Pride!"