Winter Olympics Lesson Plan: Can You Predict the Results?

Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-12, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the 15 events that comprise the 2014 Winter Olympics. Students will conduct research on how a selected event works, its history, and related vocabulary terms. They will then track and report on the outcome of a selected event.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore an overview of the 15 events that comprise the 2014 Winter Olympics
  2. Conduct research on how a selected event works, its history, and related vocabulary terms
  3. Track and report on the outcome of a selected event

Materials:

  • Access to additional research materials (books, newspapers, etc…)
  • Photocopies of the Activity Pages for each student
  • Computer with projector or interactive whiteboard for viewing BrainPOP movie and conducting online research

Vocabulary:

Olympics; nationality; alpine; freestyle; snowboarding; Nordic; biathlon; cross country skiing; frontrunners; underdog; commentators

Preparation:

Bookmark both the official site of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games site and the BrainPOP Olympics movie for students. Be sure to preview the movie and familiarize yourself with the navigation of the Sochi 2014 website.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Provide background on the history and purpose of the Olympics by showing the BrainPOP Olympics movie to the class. Before viewing the movie, pass out the activity pages and teach (or revisit) note-taking skills. Show the movie full screen with closed captioning, and pause throughout to discuss and for note-taking. The Graphic Organizer and Vocabulary Activity Pages are helpful for scaffolding note-taking.
  2. Visit the official Winter Olympics website and explore the different events together. The 15 Olympic events are displayed in icons at the top of the screen. Clicking on each icon will allow you to view a photo gallery of each event. Discuss these events as a class.
  3. Divide students into groups, and allow each group to choose one event to track and report on. Make sure each group has selected a different event.
  4. Provide time for students to conduct research on the Sochi 2014 site to discover information about the event they selected. Students should take notes on the history of the event, how it works, and special terms related to it. They could also include information from the site about how athletes train for the event and profiles of specific athletes who will star in the Olympics. You may wish for students to incorporate information they discover through further Internet research on other websites, as well as books, newspapers, and other printed materials.
  5. As the Olympics progress, each group should track the winners for the event they selected and incorporate that information into their presentations. Have the groups present their findings to the class at the end of the Olympics, or have each group present the day after their selected event concludes.
  6. Allow each group to synthesize the information they found and select a presentation format for sharing the information with the class. You could provide high-tech options such as Animoto, Glogster, a PowerPoint or multi-media presentation, storyboard, blog, or movie. Low-tech options include a non-fiction comic strip (inspired by Cassie & Rita), FYI series (inspired by BrainPOP’s FYI), report, poster, display, skit, or brochure. Be sure to provide sufficient time and materials for students to compose and practice their presentations.
  7. For homework or in a follow-up lesson, have students use the information they’ve gathered about the history of their selected event to predict which country will win in 2014. Ask students to watch their event on television or the Internet and write their observations. Was their prediction similar to that of interviewed experts and the Olympic commentators? Were any of the medal-winning countries considered the underdog, or were they frontrunners? Was there anything surprising or unusual about how the event played out this year?

Extension Activity:

Create a class graph to track which countries have won the most medals. Have each group add the winners for the event they selected to track, or discuss the previous event’s results each day and add to the graph as a class. Compare the amounts of winners for each country. Have any countries emerged as sweeping winners? Have the winners demonstrated excellence in all the events in the category (ice sports, alpine skiing/snowboarding, and Nordic), or do the victories appear to be isolated? How do the results compare to past Olympic victories?