Primary – The Olympics

The Olympics are nearly upon us so time to limber up, stretch those imaginations, aim to beat personal bests and become champion learners.

In planning meetings in school there have often been quite heated discussions over whether we should ‘follow the curriculum’ or respond to the world around us. To me the answer is quite simple. Even if it wasn’t good teaching practice to have an awareness of current affairs, the children we teach are aware of what’s happening around them and will want to find out more. It’s the basic tenet of all learning. If your teaching doesn’t give at least a nod towards what is happening in the world then certainly older children are going to wonder why their education is so restricted to a defined curriculum.

Arguments against it are weak; some say it’s like the Victorian ‘object teaching’ where a teacher would bring in an object and then teach a week’s work based around it. Others worry about squeezing in the curriculum they have to cover before the end of the year not realising that with careful planning, the elements of the topic can be integrated with the year’s curriculum.

And so we come to this year’s big event… the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The games have a great philosophy behind them. Thousands of years ago the ancient Greeks gave men from the different city states the opportunity to compete against each other fairly and in an atmosphere of celebration and peace. After a gap of nearly two thousand years, the traditions were revived in 1896 and the games have been held every four years since, apart from during the two world wars.

This year the Olympics are extra special as, for the first time in a generation or more, they’re being held in Britain. Since the decision was made granting London the right to host ‘2012’, the country has been gripped by Olympic fever and already schools have been involved in helping to make 2012 the best Olympics ever.
Now it’s time to get the Olympics into the classroom or onto the sports field and use role models such as Beth Tweddle, Usain Bolt and Rebecca Adlington to inspire children to be the best in their field.

The topic of the Olympics can give us plenty of ideas for teaching across most subjects and pupils will love learning about the event as the big day arrives when the games begin.

We’ve put together some fun activities that use aspects of the Olympics to inspire learning from finding out who would win the Olympics of the natural world to understanding the maths of the games.

Dave Lewis
Primary teacher

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