Olympic Lessons: A Roundup
People of all ages love the Olympic Games, which is one reason why lessons that utilize Olympic themes can be so effective in the classroom. With the London Olympics in full swing, several organizations have come forward with teaching tools that tie the Olympics to the world around us, allowing educators to "go for the Gold" in numerous subjects, some of them water-related.
- The National Science Teachers Association, NBC Learn and the National Science Foundation have collaborated to produce a video and lesson plan series called "The Science of the Summer Olympics." In all, 10 "learning packages" meant to promote STEM teaching will be posted. Completed packages include "Missy Franklin and Fluid Dynamics", which teaches about engineering through swimming.
- For physical education, math and/or social studies teachers, the UK Guardian newspaper's "Could You Be a Medalist?" game allows players to measure their athletic performance against great athletes of the past. Students must enter data such as the length of time it takes for them to run or swim a certain distance, or the usual length of their bike rides, and the old-school video game interface will see how they clock in.
- The Nature Conservancy offers another route for data comparison, this one between humans and animals. The short slideshow contrasts the abilities of some of the world's best athletes to comparable animals-think Usain Bolt vs. a cheetah, or Michael Phelps vs. a bluefin tuna.
- The University of Southern California (USC) has posted a video explanation of the "bio-mechanics of the perfect dive". In it, a USC Dornsife professor of biological sciences and biomedical engineering explains "how science informs athletics" while divers from USC's diving squad demonstrate.
- Finally, Get Set is the official London 2012 education program, offering lessons, resources, social networking and action projects for people of all ages who want to bring the Olympics to life in a whole new way.
We've linked to some of these sites on social media in recent days and will continue to do so. Please follow Project WET on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with what we find, and please share what you've found in comments or through one of the social media sites. You can also email us!