Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter Games and School

It doesn't happen often, but every now and again I plan ahead a little bit. Just a little bit though. Back in the beginning of the school year, when the kids and I discussed what kinds of "extras" we'd like to add into our study of the Americas, we agreed that we should make sure we allowed time to watch the Winter Olympics, and maybe we could do a little unit study on the winter games. We also decided that it would be very appropriate to do a unit study on soccer during the World Cup, since soccer is the most popular sport in most of the countries of South and Central America. So I've started collecting some ideas for those two add-ons. I'll save the soccer and World Cup ideas for a later post, and mention some of what I've discovered so far regarding the Winter Olympics.

Obviously, we'll be watching the Winter Games. Since they're being held in Russia, we will plan on watching during the school day, at least some of the time! Our family's favorite sports are hockey and curling (hello, we're from Canada!), all the skiing events, and speed skating. Kennady and I love to watch figure skating, but the guys here don't generally watch it with as much interest as we do!

When I started looking around, I noticed that there are oodles of coloring pages and word searches and cute crafts all over the internet, and tons of those things are free too. But most of the free stuff and free 'lesson plan' things are geared for young students. I actually had to dig a little harder to find things that middle school and high school students could use to study the Olympics. Here's a sampling of what I did find that I think my kids will be interested in:

I already own a couple of unit studies on the Olympics - one from Notgrass and one by Amanda Bennett. The one from Notgrass is best for upper elementary or middle school kids. Kennady already did some of it during the London 2012 games, so we will just take a look at the portions of it that focus on winter sports. Of course... I have to FIND the Amanda Bennett one... I have no idea where it is so maybe I gave it away. Oh well. Mine was the older edition, just Olympics in general. That one doesn't appear to be available any more, but there is a new Winter Games unit study available at her website, Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett. Bonus: Right now (until January 11th) it's on sale for $5, which is better than half price!
Olympics : History, Geography, and Sports by Amanda Bennett (1996, Paperback) Image
This is the one I have. Or maybe I should say 'the one I HAD'. I'm still looking for it.
Here is the cover of the new Winter Games study, specific to the 2014 games!
Off topic: I noticed Amanda has a unit study on Chocolate! Needless to say, I put it on my wish list. Okay, back to the Olympics...
For the 2014 Winter Games, the obvious place to start is the official Sochi 2014 website. Here's where you'll find the schedules and results; listings of the sports, countries, and athletes; photos and videos; and more. If you happen to be in the Sochi area next month, you might even be able to get tickets to an event. Download and print a schedule of the events in Sochi HERE (pdf file). Kids might especially enjoy exploring the page dedicated to the Olympic mascots and their history. And yes, you can follow the Sochi 2014 Winter Games on Facebook (in English or in Russian!).

Another obvious website to explore is the official website of the Olympic movement, More on the games, past and present, as well as on the countries, athletes, and sports. NBC will be broadcasting the games in the US, so they have a website dedicated to the Sochi 2014 Games - NBC Olympics. CNN also has a dedicated website with a lot of interesting features: Aiming for Gold

If you're wondering about some of the sports played during the winter games, check out the tutorial ESPN posted during the Vancouver 2010 games.  Winter Olympics - Sport by Sport

This Scholastic Teachers lesson plan teaches some of the science of the winter games; with concepts like inertia, velocity, and momentum explored within the context of winter sports: The Science of the Olympic Winter Games I'm not gonna lie - this is uber cool. Even if you're not studying Physics, this is fascinating stuff. By the way, it's geared to middle school through high school students.
The Best Sites For Learning About The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games

Need to incorporate math into a unit study on the Olympics? Take a look at this article and graphics about the timing of events, down to tiny fractions of a second: Fractions of a Second: An Olympic Musical You can see on the graph the times that separated medalists from the competition, AND you can listen to the difference as well. On each line is a "play" button that will play a musical tone at the time interval for each finishing time shown. It's hard for me to explain, but it is pretty neat. Check it out and let me know what you think!

The torch is already being relayed from Greece to Sochi. You can find out how the torch works at the always interesting website How Stuff Works.  How Olympic Torches Work  The site will also explain How Olympic Timing Works (perfect after you've listened to Fraction of a Second Olympic Musical above!) Or test your knowledge with the Game On: Olympics Quiz.

My daughter is very artistic, so I think she might enjoy some art projects based on the sport pictograms developed for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. You can get a nice preview of most of the pictograms at the website YouTheDesigner. I showed them to Kennady and she was delighted so I think I have a medal contender with whatever art project I suggest using these as a model!
Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 Pictogram #olympics #wintersports

And finally, educator Larry Ferlazzo's website has a page dedicated to The Best Sites For Learning About the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Why re-invent the wheel, when Mr Ferlazzo has already collected a bunch of websites for you to check out?

Do you plan to take the time to study the Olympics during the 2014 Winter Games? What sports will your family be watching most closely? Leave a comment and let me know!

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew have been collecting the resources they will be using to study the Olympics and are sharing them in a 2014 Winter Olympics Round-up. (That link will be live on Wednesday, January 15th, with a summary of all the Crew's posts in one place.) In the meantime, you can check out the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read the current articles and see what reviews are coming up.
Winter Olympics Resources Round-Up

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Mary said...

Thanks for this - a great reminder and great links.

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