the Olympic Games

Modern Olympic Beginnings Mini-Lesson

Objective: Students will learn when and how the modern Olympic Games began.

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Reading Level: Upper Elementary

Teacher Background

The origins of the Olympic Games lie centuries ago in ancient Greece. The games were part of a religious festival. Greek life revolved around MORE

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Print or Project

  1. A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
  2. Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Do you think the caption "The Olympics Reborn" is a good one for the photo of Pierre de Coubertin? Why or why not?)

Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.

  1. Continue the Conversation: Ask students to talk about their favorite Olympic events. Point out that there are both summer and winter sports. Ask students if they can guess when the first Olympics were broadcast on TV to an international audience. (Answer: The 1960 Rome Olympic Games)
  2. Write about it: The Olympic Creed says that "the most important things in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part..." Ask students to write a paragraph explaining why they agree or disagree with this statement.

Extension Activities

Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on the Olympic Games.


Modern Olympic Beginnings Word Power
Grade: 4 - 6
Students practice vocabulary relevant to the modern Olympic Games by using each word in a sentence.



Winter Olympic Games Reading Comprehension
Grade: 4 - 8
Students read about the history of the Winter Games, answer questions, and sequence events.



Excerpted from:

Eyewitness: Olympics

Get an exciting overview of the ancient games, the rebirth of the Olympics at the end of the 19th century, and a very brief history of the winter and summer games, all with spectacular photos of athletes and equipment.

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