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Teaching About the 2016 Summer Olympics

We've scoured the web to find the most relevant information, lessons, and activities for your classroom.

Found in: prek-2 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, language arts, health & p.e., math, science, social studies

Background Resources

Rio Olympics Logo

Ancient Greeks: The Olympic Games. K-5 students learn about the ancient events, athletes, spectators, and the role of women. The site includes fun facts, images, and activities.

Ancient Olympic Games. K-12 teachers and students in grades 6-12 can investigate the games, athletes, women, politics, and commercialism of the ancient games. A resource section includes a glossary, myths, links to other websites, and more.

The Olympics is the official website of the IOC and an up-to-date source of information about the events and athletes of the modern games for K-12 teachers and students. The website includes photos and videos.

Dicolympic is an alphabetical collection of Olympic information and brief biographies of athletes.

History of Rio provides a succinct history of the Olympics' host city.

The Ancient Greek Olympics. A kid-friendly history of the ancient and modern games.

Olympic Medals Earned by Country. A tally of medals won by each country, broken down by Summer and Winter games and individual games from the beginning of the modern Olympics to the Sochi games in 2014.

How Olympic Locations are Chosen.'s overview of the selection process for the games' host city.

Lessons and Activities

PBS NewsHour Body and Mind Lesson Plan: A dual science lesson plan to learn about the Olympics through the lens of the mind (psychology) and the body (physiology). Grades 7-12. 

Reaching for Olympic Glory Lesson Plans. AAAS's Science NetLinks offers Olympics- and sports-related resources to allow students to see the excitement, hard work, and dedication that takes place not only in the ring and on the field during the Games, but also in the laboratories and on computer screens beforehand.

Gold Medal Olympics Activities. Ten gold-medal lessons from Education World, including activities that involve students in creating time lines and graphs, writing biographies of famous Olympians, and more.

2016 Olympics Summer Games Lessons & Activities. Teacher Vision has compiled its own list of background information, activities, lesson plans, and worksheets.

Glory or Turmoil: Teaching and Learning About Brazil and the Summer Olympics. These lessons and learning activities from The New York Times Learning Network encourage students to examine the preparations for the 31st Olympiad in Brazil, weighing the challenges athletes and supporters face as they get ready for competition. Students will consider the political, health, and environmental issues surrounding the games and consider whether athletes should go for the gold or sit these games out. Grades 7-12.

It's How You Play the Game. This lesson from the New York Times Learning Network encourages students to explore the differences between cheating and gamesmanship in professional sports. Grades 6-12.

The Olympics furnishes historical and cultural background for the games. Teachers can find K-12 lessons on EDSITEment.


The Science of the Summer Olympics. NBC, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, explores the engineering and technology helping athletes maximize their performance at the 2012 London Games. The 10 videos cover topics from running and weightlifting to safety helmet and pool design. Each video comes with a link to NSF lesson plans appropriate for grades 6-12.