Feb 12 2014

Incorporating the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Classroom

Bring the fun from Sochi to life for students with these medalworthy lesson ideas.

What’s more complex than solving a quadratic equation? Judging figure skating.

If you’re not a figure skating enthusiast, you might have missed out on the fact that the traditional six-point grading system was ditched in favor of a new measure, the ISU Judging System, which was rolled out during the 2006 Winter Olympics. While the main goal in updating the system was to prevent dishonesty in the sport, with the shift to the new system, judging the value of a triple axle went from an arithmetic process to a mind-numbing calculus formula.

NBC News has put together a smart video explaining how the change impacts the way figure skating is judged.

If this sounds like a great math lesson for kids, you’re thinking along the same lines as Mercer Hall and Patricia Russac of The Aside Blog. The two instructors recently posted the video on their blog (one of EdTech’s Must-Read K–12 IT Blogs) extolling its potential classroom value.

On a design level, it is masterful. On a teaching level, it is eye-catching and appealing to kids of all ages. It would be great to share in a class or to post on a communal blog to let children become more informed and media literate consumers of February's season of sport.

Hall and Russac aren’t the only instructors with the Sochi games on the brain. English Teacher Melanie, a blogger and online educator, points out that the Winter Olympics are a great opportunity for vocabulary lessons. She’s put together a list of all 15 sports in English for ESOL students.

Have you been incorporating the Winter Olympics in your classroom in unique ways? Let us know in the comments section below.


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