Do you think the six sports mentioned in the article-baseball, softball, skateboarding, surfing, karate and sport climbing-should be part of the Olympics? Why or why not?
According to the article, Tokyo organizers wanted to add more sports to their upcoming Olympic Games in order to attract more Japanese and global fans. Do you think the sports they picked will do that? If so, why? If not, what sports would you have picked instead?
According to the article, many pro leagues-including the NBA and NHL-shut down during the Olympics so the best players can compete. But the MLB, so far, has refused to do this. Why do you think the MLB has taken this stance? Why do think it would be difficult for baseball to be a permanent part of the Olympics if they don't change their mind?
Under new IOC rules, host cities can propose additional sports for their own games. If the Olympics were held in a large city near you, what sports do you think organizers should add to reflect the culture of your area? Why?
- Have each student identify his or her favorite Olympic sport. Inform students that they will create an informational package in which they chronicle that sport's history in the Olympic Games.
- On their own, with a partner or in small groups, have students conduct research to learn more about their Olympic sport. Instruct them to create a package that includes the following: a detailed timeline noting important events in the sport's Olympic history; brief biographies of one or more of the most well-known athletes to participate in this Olympic sport; and a short summary explaining why this is their favorite Olympic sport.
- Give students time to compile their packages. Encourage them to include photos, diagrams or other illustrations that add meaning to their reports.
- As a final touch, challenge students to design an Olympic pin that reflects the history of their favorite sport in the Olympics.
Give students five minutes to present their informational packages to the class. In that short amount of time, challenge them to explain why this is their favorite sport, identify the most important events and participants and share why their pin is a true reflection of the sport's history in the Olympics.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Have each student identify his or her favorite Olympic sport. Create small groups composed of students who like the same sport. On their timelines, instruct students to identify when the sport was first part of the Olympics along with five noteworthy events that have occurred since then. Have students write a biography of one well-known athlete who participated in this Olympic sport.
Have each student identify his or her favorite Olympic sport. Create pairs composed of students who like the same sport. On their timelines, instruct students to identify when the sport was first part of the Olympics along with 10 noteworthy events that have occurred since then. Have students write biographies of two well-known athletes who participated in this Olympic sport.
Have each student identify his or her favorite Olympic sport. Create pairs composed of students who like the same sport. Instruct students to create a timeline in which they identify when the sport first appeared in the Olympics and 10 or more noteworthy events that have occurred since then. Challenge students to then identify as many gold medal winners in this sport as they can. Then have them write biographies of three well-known athletes who participated in this Olympic sport. Only one of these people may be a gold medal winner.
Instruct students to select their favorite Olympic sport and complete the project on their own. Instruct them to identify as many noteworthy events on their timelines as they can. Challenge them to include a detailed caption and a photo, diagram or illustration with each point. Encourage students to write detailed biographies of five of the most well-known athletes to ever compete in this Olympic sport.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the importance of infographic design, which first appeared at the Olympics in 1948.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how an off-hand comment—really more of a joke—led to the creation of the first U.S. Olympic team.
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the painters, sculptors, writers and musicians who battled for gold, silver and bronze in the modern Olympics’ early days.
Listen to this podcast from the National Museum of American History to learn about the surprising beginnings of the modern Olympic Games and how much has changed since then. To explore the topic fully, download the accompanying teacher guide.
Tour this Smithsonian exhibition to meet athletes, including several Olympians, who battled on and off the playing field to break records for themselves and barriers for everyone else.