An online student activity with corresponding lesson plans that provide a look into the Olympic Games, from its past in ancient Greece to the present-day international event
- Use Web technology to learn about ancient Greece and the Olympic Games.
- Build vocabulary skills.
- Explore the history of the Olympic Games.
- Write a newspaper article on the 2004 Olympics.
- Create connections between the 2004 Olympics and past Olympic Games.
- Understand the contributions of ancient Greece to today's world.
Set Up and Prepare
- As you plan your lessons, you may wish to print out any reading assignment pages and staple them into a book for individual students.
- Depending on time available, the grade level, and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction. Teachers may use the guide to teach a complete unit or break the content into smaller learning components. Some suggestions are:
- Have individual students create Olympic Spirit Postcards to print as a visual story starter.
- Create a class Olympic Committee to listen and judge individual speeches.
- Create small groups of students to research the Olympics in different decades or different Olympic sports and present their findings to the class.
Background (1 day)
Hold a class discussion on the upcoming Olympic Games. Ask students what they remember from the last Olympics. Prompt them to remember details of the events and ask them how they know these details. Prompt students to think about the news coverage that the Olympic Games receive and how that effect their memories as well as history.
For homework, hand students a printed copy of the Olympic Games article found in the Research Starter. Direct them to write one question that they would like to learn more about at the bottom of the article
Research Starter: Olympics (5-6 days)
As a class, make a list of questions students came up with after reading their background article and write them on the board. Inform students that they will be writing a research paper on the Olympic Games, and they can pick any of the topics on the board or they can focus on another area of research within the Olympic Game topic.
Direct students individually or in small groups to the Olympic Games Research Starter. Remind students that more information can be found off-line in the library.
For information and tips on writing a research paper, see the Writing Workshop: Research Paper to record their findings and answer their research questions.
When the research reports are complete, students can present their work through an oral presentation to the rest of the class.
Supporting All Learners
International Reading Association (IRA) & National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Standards:
Election 2004 helps students meet the following standards
- Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States.
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions.
- Students use a variety of technological informational resources (libraries, databases, computer networks) to gather and synthesize information to create and communicate knowledge.
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language for learning, persuasion, and exchange of information.
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)
Election 2004 meets the standards of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), which promote the development of students as good citizens in a culturally diverse, interdependent world. The content and activities of this project are especially appropriate for the themes of:
Power, Authority and Governance
Provide experiences for the study of how people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.
Individual Development and Identity
Students learn to ask questions such as "What influences how people learn, perceive, and grow?"
Students learn how to understand multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points.
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Students learn about how institutions are formed, what controls and influences them, and how they can influence individuals and culture.
Civic Ideals and Practices
Students gain an understanding of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic.
Investigative Reporting (3-4 days)
Now that students have done a research report on the Olympic Games, you can extend the lesson by having them write in-depth news reports on the 2004 Olympics.
Tell students that they are going to be reporters on the scene at the Olympics, and they have an assignment: write an in-depth article on the 2004 Olympic Games. As good investigative reporters, they need to dig deep into the subject matter.
Direct students to the Scholastic News special report on the Olympics and hand each student a printed copy of the 5 Ws (PDF). If the library is available, have students continue their research through printed newspaper and magazine articles. This research should continue in class or as homework for several days.
When students have complete their research and filled out their 5Ws, they should be prepared to write their article. Direct students to follow the steps outlined in Writing with Writers: News Writing. Students should print the preview page to hand in for teacher assessment. See assessment and evaluation.
Vocabulary BuildingExplain to the students that the Greeks also influenced the English language, they are going to find out through the "It's Greek to Me" activity. Print a study list (PDF) for students to review - students can review in class while other students are on the computers or they can all review the list at home as homework. Students should play the game repeatedly, trying to get gold medals and improve their vocabulary.
Students in grades 3-5 will be writing a newspaper article based on the current events of the Olympic Games. They will focus on one topic which should be graded based on the rubric below.
Students in grades 6-8+ will be writing an in-depth news article that looks at a topic both in the historic context as well as the current situation. Students should be graded not only on their article but also on their teamwork in creating the class magazine. See rubric below.
Both the newspaper article and the investigative report can be published online through the Writing with Writers: News Writing workshop.
Informal Assessment Ideas
Assess students as they are involved with class discussions and from their filled out KWL and Timeline organizers. Base your assessment on student participation and discussion. Has the student made connections through the activities and the discussions? Has the student filled out the timeline completely and the KWL chart with thoughtful questions with researched answers?