On to more ideas and lesson plans that use the Olympics to teach math. I really enjoy watching the Winter Olympics because some of the sports, especially the ice dancing, are so graceful that the athletes just flow and make it seem so easy.

Right now, we have the summer Olympics coming up and many of the stations will be devoting hours and hours of time to broadcasting these events.

nrich has a lovely card game with events and results that are mixed up so it is the job of the student to cut the cards apart and match them correctly. This would make a great introduction along with a clip from the early Olympics. In addition, nrich also has a logic exercise to determine the medal table based on the information given. Furthermore, nrich has a page of possible activities dealing with the 2012 Summer Olympics that could be the focus of the whole unit.

From the United Kingdom is a lovely page on the 2012 Olympics that were held in London. This site has a large selection of activities and suggested activities including an interactive graph that looks at number of medals won and the country for all the Olympics from 1896 on. Many of the activities are from nrich and some are disconnected but others are actually are divided according to grade level.

Again from 2012 is the Olympic blog with lots of interesting problems that deal with math all the way from tennis rackets to field hockey to the bobsled. Many of the problems here could be used as bell ringers or warm-ups. I like the variation in the problems and many require some thought.

Education world has a nice lesson plan on graphing Olympic results past and present in times, medals, or points. The directions are clear and it offers a variety of sources to find the information. This is from the 2006 and 2008 Olympics but it can easily be used. Most of the links are still up and running.

One last thought on the math. Give a homework assignment where students watch one or two different races, mark down the times for the half way point and the end so they can figure out if the person was slower or faster during the second half, or create a graph on the speed of the athlete.

And to finish things off, have the students play this math Olympics game to practice word problems. There are 20 questions and if you miss any, you must start again. The problems are not that hard but they do require some thought and would be good for a review for all ages.

I've noticed that there are tons of things out there for elementary students, all designed to improve math skills but far fewer activities for middle school or high school. Most of us do not have time to create lessons from scratch so we look but its hard when we find material for the younger ones but not the older students.