Posted by: ad65shorty | February 18, 2010

Olympic Teaching Moments

As most of you know, I live in Utah. I was teaching 2nd grade when the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics took place! It was an exciting time for us as teachers! There was so much learning we could incorporate into our classrooms, based on the current events surrounding us!!! Probably one of my most favorite times of teaching ever! The state education department provided each teacher with a plethora of ideas, including picture books for our students to read and a huge outline of teaching opportunities for the teachers. It was amazing! So, I pulled out my file tonite and took a look to see if there was anything I could use for “Thursday: Educational Fun.”

If your children are anything like mine, they have a lot of questions about things they are seeing during this time. What a great opportunity to discuss the Olympic Symbols. I’ll make it easy for you by providing some of the info here. This is taken from Reach: Educator’s Guide to the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games of 2002.

1. Olympic Flag and Rings

The white Olympic flag has two rows of brightly colored rings in the middle. The upper row has three rings–blue, black, and red–and the lower row has two rings of yellow and green. The rings symbolize five continents–Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and America. It is likely that every country’s flag contains at least one of the five colors of the rings…

2. Olympic Medals

Each host city is allowed to add special details to the front of the medal and create a unique design for the back of the medal.

In the Ancient Olympics, no medals were awarded. The first-place winner was given a crown of olive leaves to wear on his head. Second and third place winners received nothing. When the Modern Games were revived in 1896, first-place winners received silver medals. Strangely, gold was considered inferior to silver. Eight years later, at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, gold replaced silver for first place.

Today’s “gold” medals are actually sterling silver covered with a thin coat of pure gold. Medals are seven centimeters (approximately two inches) across. Gold is awarded for first-place, silver for second-place, and bronze for third-place.

3. Olympic Emblem

For the history behind Vancouver’s, go here.

4. Olympic Motto

“Citius, Altius, Fortius” is the Latin phrase meaning “Swifter, Higher, Stronger…”

5. Olympic Torch

The Olympic Torch is a tradition continued from the Ancient Olympic Games. In ancient Olympia (Greece), a flame was ignited by the sun and then kept burning until the close of the Games. The flame first appeared in the Modern Olympic Games at the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. The flame itself represents purity, the pursuit of perfection, and the struggle for victory. It also represents peace and friendship.

6. Other

You could also teach your children about the specific sports that they are seeing on TV. You could teach them about heroes. You could teach them about healthy living and things these athletes do to be so good at their sports. You could talk about sportsmanship and how those that don’t do well don’t throw tantrums. You could teach about persistance and practice. My son wanted to know about our National Anthem when he heard it sang so I gave him a bit of background on that.

What are you teaching your children about the Olympics?

**For picture credits, click on pictures.

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