Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Olympics - 4th Grade Unit Study

The 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are quickly approaching! Of course that is a perfect excuse to do a fun unit study (and count some t.v. watching time as school)!! Two years ago, for the summer olympics, we did a general unit study. I planned way too much and we gave up way too early. So this year, I wanted to focus our study a bit more. I am hoping that it will make it a little more fun!

I have two 4th grade students, so all of our activities are planned for children in the 3rd-5th grade age group.

As all good unit studies should start with a read-aloud, we will be reading Dunc and the Greased Sticks of Doom by Gary Paulsen.

Five … four … three … two … Olympic superstar Francesco Bartoli is about to hurt himself down the face of a mountain in another attempt to clinch the world slalom speed record. Cheering fans and snapping cameras are everywhere. But someone is out to stop him, and Dunc thinks he knows who it is. Can Dunc get to the gate in time to save the day?

Instead of studying every single Olympic winter sport, we will focus on the alpine skiing events, primarily the slalom.

With Lindsay Vonn out for this year's olympics, all eyes have turned to 18 year old Michaela Shiffrin. I will be checking the games schedule and we plan to watch all of the men's and women's slalom events, and will be cheering on Michaela for the gold! She has some stiff competition in an Austrian competitor.

To learn more about skiing, and the slalom, we will read A Basic Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding (Olympic Guides).

Then we will spend some time playing some fun online games. The Husky Slalom game at National Geographic Kids looks fun. And there are More Winter Games at that site, too, including bobsledding and ice skating.

If we have time we will do this ski jumping art from Spoonful.

Although we won't be learning about the Ancient Olympics and then all aspects of the Modern Olympics, we will do this fun Task Card assignment. It is like a web scavenger hunt that will have the kids searching for answers to questions about the Olympics.

We will also do a couple of puzzles and worksheets, including a Winter Olympics Word Search and an Alphabetizing worksheet.

For some creative writing, we will Design a Sport, created by Sara Oberheide.

For math, we will do a couple of different worksheets, including Olympic Word Problems and Skiing Time: Averages.

We will also be reading Olympic Math: working with percents and decimals by Greg Roza. We haven't gotten into percents and decimals yet, but our library had this book so I thought I would go through it with the kids.

We will, finally, focus on one more aspect of the Olympics .. the Olympic torch. I was inspired by this free Pastel by Southern Hodgepodge.We will definitely be doing this project.

But first we will need to learn the history of Olympic Torch. And then we will look into the torch Relay to Sochi. Isn't this map beautiful?? The torch dates all the way back to the Ancient Olympics and is such a major part of the Modern Olympics that I thought this would be the perfect bridge between the two to share with the kids.

Heather at Only Passionate Curiosity has a GREAT Olympics torch unit study FREE at TeachersPayTeachers until January 18th. You should really check it out!

I was kind of dreading the same ol', same ol' of the Olympics studies. It seems that every two years the same projects come up and it can get a little humdrum. But, after doing this planning, I am excited about our focus! We have very specific things to learn and look forward to!

My fellow Crew Members at The Old Schoolhouse are busy doing their Olympic planning as well. Head over to the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for inspiration for your Olympic unit study planning. The post goes live on January 15th, so you will have plenty of time to gather your materials. Have fun!

Winter Olympics Resources Round-Up

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