By connecting the Winter Olympics with interdisciplinary curriculum learned in the physical education classroom, teachers Nancy Feenstra, Franni Carlson and Paul Mammoser recently conducted a four-week “Jefferson Olympics,” which gave students the opportunity to better understand both the countries that participated and the sports of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Principal Carm Proctor ran the “torch” around the gymnasium to cheers of the student “country” delegations to kick off the Jefferson Olympics. In physical education class, students participated in ice hockey (broomball), two-person bobsled (scooter race), curling (shuffleboard), biathlon (running and archery), and short track speed skating (rollerblading). Winning teams won gold, bronze and silver medals.
As a way to incorporate English language arts and social studies into the physical education unit, students researched one of the countries participating in the Olympics. They discovered facts about the country’s population, geography, neighboring countries and language.
“We like connecting what they are learning in physical education to real events or real life,” said Ms. Carlson. “The Olympics unit included ELA, social studies, art and physical education, so that students not only learned more about the countries who participated and the winter sports highlighted, but to also see Olympic athletes as role models to help students understand where athletics can take you in life. The underlying theme of the Olympics is sportsmanship and friendship of all people from five continents and we wanted our students to understand that is important to hold these positive character qualities in real life too.”