Six Resources for Teaching the Olympics

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The 2016 Summer Olympic Games kicked off last week. To commemorate the  Olympic Games, here are PBS LearningMedia resources related to competitive sports and inspirational athletes.

Are Olympic Competitors Geniuses? | Video | Arts | Grades 9-12
Everyone is obsessed with the Olympics right now, watching these geniuses push the boundaries of their field. The word "genius"  is normally associated with intellectual accomplishments, but athletes are geniuses at pushing their bodies to new heights, making the impossibly difficult seem easy and effortless.

Adaptive Technologies | Collection | Science and Engineering | Grades 6-12
These media resources from MEDAL QUEST and DESIGN SQUAD help students explore how science, technology, engineering, and math support athletes with physical disabilities as they compete at elite levels.

Use these standards-based resources to increase students’ understanding of people with disabilities, broaden awareness of Paralympic sports, highlight the adaptive technologies used by Paralympic athletes, and showcase the engineering design process used to create these technologies.

Jesse Owens and the 1936 Olympic Games | Video | History | Grades 6-13+
In this video adapted from American Experience: "Jesse Owens," learn the story of a great American athlete. Owens' medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin helped disprove the Nazi theory that nonwhite people were inferior. However, despite his Olympic victories, Owens faced racism as an African American back home in the United States.


To Hawaii from Japan | Video | Social Studies| Grades 4-12
In this video segment from Faces of America, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. talks with Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi about her grandfather, Tatsuichi Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi learns for the first time that her grandfather left his family in 1899 at the tender age of 21. Tatsuichi then settled on the Big Island of Hawaii and began working as a laborer on the Onamega Sugar Plantation. The conditions were harsh and unforgiving while the workers toiled through the planting, cutting and processing of sugar cane.

Climate Wisconsin: Birkebeiner | Video | Science | Grades 6-12
This multimedia video produced by the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board follows John Kotar through the 2010 American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, WI. Having skied every “Birkie” since it started in 1973, John shares his experience and how the race is being threatened by climate change.

Frequency Flyers | Interactive | Math | Grade 6
In this ski jump math interactive, students learn how to build frequency tables with and without intervals, and record data in them. Videos featuring real kids help contextualize the math.