The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games are right around the corner (they start Feb. 7), and students likely are getting excited to watch Team USA compete. Although just about every subject can incorporate the Olympics in some way, this resource roundup focuses primarily on the STEM subjects. Here are some of our favorite STEM resources that incorporate the Winter Olympics.
- Science and Engineering of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games: NBC Learn, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, has produced these 10 extremely interesting videos that explain the science behind different winter sports. For instance, students might find “Shaun White & The Engineering of the Half Pipe” particularly engaging, plus there are videos covering the science of ice and snow, bobsledding, and much more. In 2010, NBC Learn and the NSF also produced the Science of the Winter Olympic Games, another useful resource.
- Winter Olympics - Science & Sport: Hey, this resource from Montana State University was produced in 1998 for the Nagano games -- but the science lessons are still relevant for teachers and students. In fact, this package was an inspiration for NBC Learn’s Winter Olympics learning resources. Here teachers will find interactive courses covering the physics of ice skating and the luge, as well as activities for learning about sports nutrition and physiology. Printable worksheets are available, making this a great old school (in Internet time) learning resource.
- The Physics and Other Science Behind Winter Olympic Sports: The New York Times Learning Network produced these multimedia-rich lessons for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games -- but they’re great for the 2014 Sochi Games. Here you’ll find two tailored lessons covering a couple of the laws of physics, with links to relevant Times content and other resources.
- Winter Olympic Math from Scholastic: This resource from Scholastic features six unique math games for students in grades 1-5. They’re easy to use in class and don’t require much in terms of materials. In addition, each game features a “Tech Twist” for fun, engaging ways to incorporate technology.
- Visualizing the Winter Olympics -- Mapping the 2014 Torch Relay: This blog, from the American Society of Innovation Design in Education (ASIDE), offers ideas for a mapping activity for students. It's just one of ASIDE’s creative ideas for teaching about the Olympics. Also check out Designing the 2014 Sochi Brand and The Olympics as Teaching Tool -- Going for the Gold from the London Games in 2012.
- The Science of Winter Sports from Science Buddies: This is another resource from the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and it’s packed full of great science projects and activities for students. Most of the lessons are designed for the middle grades 4-8, and they cover various winter sports, like “How Fast Can You Shoot A Hockey Puck?” and “Slippery Slopes and Sticking Surfaces: Explore the Forces of Friction.”
Other Useful Resources for the 2014 Sochi Games
- 2014 Olympic Winter Games Lessons Collection via ShareMyLesson
- TIME for Kids -- Sochi News Homepage
- 10 Free Things for Teaching About the 2014 Sochi Games via National Education Association
- Winter Olympics Projects, Lessons, and Activities via ReadWriteThink
- Sochi By the Numbers via CNN