Political Events and Summer Olympic Games

Grade Levels: 5 - 7


  • Students will learn about world political events and their historical connection to the Olympic Games.
  • Students will practice their research skills.



  1. Distribute Olympic Games and Politics handout and go over it with the students.
  2. Tell students they will be creating a timeline displaying historical events and their connection to the Summer Olympic games.
  3. Break students into small groups. Tell students they will be responsible for filling in assigned sections of the timeline.
  4. Assign each group one of the following Olympic years:1896, 1900, 1904, 1906, 1908, 1912, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000
  5. Give each group a sheet of chart paper and tell them to hold it vertically when they create their piece of the timeline.
  6. Distribute the Olympic Games and Politics Research Questions handout. Instruct the groups to use these questions to further research the political and social context in which their Summer Olympic Games took place.
  7. Once the research information has been gathered, ask students to put this information onto the chart paper. Use the following as an example:

    1900 Summer Olympics


    Number of countries participating in these games:

    Number of athletes participating in these games:

    Country that won the most medals:

    Major political events of the time:

    Effects of these events on the Games:

    Major technological advances of the time:

    Effects of this technology on the Games:

  8. Once all of the information is added, ask students to illustrate their piece of the timeline.
  9. In the chronological order of the Games, have each group present their piece of the timeline.
  10. Display the timeline for students to reference for the rest of the school year.

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