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This excellent lesson plan is on the history of the Olympics


Social Studies  


2, 3, 4, 5  


Title – History of the Olympics
By – Susan Senigo
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects –
Grade Level – 2nd-5th
July 24, 2001

I. Objectives
          Ã‚· The students will research the history of the Olympics.
          Ã‚· The students will compare their findings to the information found in the book Hour of the Olympics.
          Ã‚· The students will discuss and present the changes in the Olympics from ancient Greeks times to present day.
          Ã‚· The students will use their knowledge of the Olympics the design their own rules and hold their own Olympics.

II. Materials
          Ã‚· Hour of the Olympics written by Mary Pope Osborne from the Magic Tree House Series
          Ã‚· Computer with Internet access
          Ã‚· Reference books

III. Organizational Structure of Lesson
          Ã‚· Individual and Group reading
          Ã‚· Individual and Pairs research
          Ã‚· Large Group discussion and planning

IV. Motivation for lesson
The students have watched the Olympics on television and are interested in sports. The teacher will ask the students the following questions:

          1. How many of you have watched the Olympics on television?

          2. What kinds of sports do you see in the Olympics today?

          3. Do you know where the first Olympic games were held?

          4. Do you think that sports that are played today are the same sports that were played in the very first Olympics?

V. Procedure

Activity 1:
The students will read the Prologue and Chapters 1 and 2 of Hour of the Olympics. As a class, we will list on the board some of the information we find in the book about the Olympics. We will also list any information we find about ancient Greece that could have influenced the Olympics. The students will then work in pairs using resource materials provided by the teacher* and the Internet to find out more information relevant to the material in chapters 1 and 2 of the book. As a class, we will compare the information we found in the book to information from other sources to see how accurate the book is.

Activity 2:
Individuals in the class will read Chapters 3 and 4 out loud. As a class, we will discuss the role that women had in the ancient Greek Olympics and compare it to the role that we feel that women have today. The students will then research women who have competed in the Olympics and report to the class any accomplishments the women have made and any struggles that they have had to overcome. This research will be done in class using the Internet and research materials provided by the teacher*. The students will be assigned to read Chapters 5-7 at home.

Activity 3:
After having read Chapters 5-7 the students will, as a class, provide a short summary so that the teacher can assess their understanding. In class, the students will compare the events held in ancient times to the events held in the modern day Olympics. They will answer the following questions individually:
          1. What are the similarities between the events now and then?
          2. What are the differences?
          3. Which events are still held now that were begun in ancient times?
          4. Why are some of the events no longer being held?
          5. How has the equipment changed over the years?
          6. How have the rules changed over the years?

Activity 4:
In class, the teacher will read Chapters 8-10. Individually, the students will write a review of the book to hand in to the teacher. As a class, the students will plan to hold their own Olympic Day. The teacher will lead them in a discussion to choose events, decide on rules, and a way to judge the winners. The students will need to create a rule sheet that can be distributed to all participants. They also need to make a list of the equipment they will need to borrow. The students should use information they have learned over the week to develop a way to include every student.

Activity 5:
Today is Olympic Day! The students will set up the events and invite other classes to participate. The students will also be responsible for making sure that all participants are aware of the rules by giving them a printed rule sheet and answering any questions other students may have.

VI. Closure
Initiate a class discussion that allows students to talk about what they have learned about the origin of the Olympics and about any participants in the Olympics. Let the students discuss their feelings about the changes that have been made over the years.

VII. Assessment
After the Olympic Day, the students will write a short story about Annie and Jack taking a trip to the next Olympics. This story should include a description of the types of people they would see competing and observing. It should also include a description of the events that would be taking place.

VIII. Extension Activities
Chapter 1 – Students can compare English words to Greek words. Comparing English and Greek words to words in other languages, such as, Spanish, German, French, and Latin can extend the activity. The students can then make a chart to show comparisons of certain words in these languages.

Chapter 2 – Students can research the clothing worn by individuals in the past and compare it to clothing that people wear now. Comparing modern clothing in different cultures can extend this activity. Students can create a collage showing differences in modern clothing by drawing or cutting pictures out of a magazine.
          – Students can research drama in ancient Greece. They can chose a play and perform it. The students can then rewrite the play as if it had been written in the year 2001.

Chapter 3 – Students can look at the role of women in different cultures. A comparison can be made between modern and ancient treatment of women. Students can be asked to look for societies where the role of women has stayed the same or changed very little. The students can write about their reaction to the treatment of women in these types of societies.

Chapter 4 – The class will have a teacher led discussion about the meaning of democracy in ancient times. As a class, the students will list any changes that have been made in democracy to make it what it is today.

Chapter 5 – The teacher will provide information about the Greek gods. The students will work in pairs to find more information, stories, and myths about an individual god that he/she may choose. The students will then present the information, story, or myth that they find to the rest of the class.

Chapter 6 – The students will write a position essay about Annie’s choice to disobey the rules of ancient Greece. The following questions may be used as guidelines:
          – Do you agree or disagree with Annie’s decision to go to the Olympics?
          – If you were in Annie’s position, would you have gone to the Olympics?
          – Do you think you should have to follow the rules of another culture if you are only a visitor?

Chapter 7 – As a class, the students will predict what will happen to Annie in the next chapter. Divide the students into teacher chosen groups of 4. Each group will write their own version of Chapter 8.

Chapter 8 – Still working in groups, the children will compare their version of chapter 8 to Mary Pope Osborne’s original chapter. The following questions will help guide the students’ writing:
          – What were the similarities and differences between the two chapters?
          – Which version of chapter 8 did you like the best?

Chapter 9 – The students can draw a map of ancient Greece using the description in the story as the children fly back to the magic tree house. The students can also look at maps of ancient Greece to see if the children’s in the book is accurate.

Chapter 10 – The students can study the history of constellations. Several activities could be accomplished including identification of constellations and telling the stories behind many of the constellations.

IX. Resource Materials and Web Sites
· The Olympic Movement
· Jim Thorpe: Olympic Champion
· The Olympic Games
· Superstars of USA Women’s Gymnastics: Women Athletes of the 2000 Olympics
· DK Readers: Going for Gold
· The Basic Guide to Archery
· Red, White, Blue and Gold : The U.S. Olympic Team at the Games of the XXVII Olympiad
· First to the Wall: 100 Years of Olympic Swimming
· Athletics, Field: Pole Vault, Long Jump, Hammer, Javelin, and Lots, Lots More
· The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics: Sydney
· Olympians
· The Ancient Olympic Games
· The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games
· Eyewitness: Olympics
· Totally Tara: An Olympic Journey
· Athletics, Track: 100 Meters, 200 Meters, Relays, Hurdles, and Lots, Lots More
· Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Champion Athlete
· Games of ’36: A Pictorial History of the 1936 Olympics in Germany
· Shooting from the Outside: How a Coach and Her Olympic Team Transformed Women’s Basketball
· Florence Griffith Joyner: Track and Field Star
· The Story of the Olympics
· Superstars of U.S.A. Women’s Soccer: Women Athletes of the 2000 Olympics
· Jesse Owens: Olympic Superstar

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