Olympic History


The lesson introduces students to the history of the Olympics, its origins, and the differences between the ancient Olympic Games and the modern games.  Many students become interested in the Olympics, especially if they participate in one of the Olympic sports, or they may simply enjoy the ceremonies, activities and other events related to the games.  The lesson may be used during Olympic years, in conjunction with an Ancient Greece lesson, or other content related to countries of the world.  It is recommended the PE teacher become involved and perhaps introduce students to some of the Olympic events, and students may participate in them during a PE class.


Olympic History Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Olympic History
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Many students are interested in the Olympics, even in years they do not occur. The lesson provides students with everything they want to know about the history of the Olympics. The lesson begins by describing the very first Olympic Games in Ancient Greece, including the different types of sports contests, and the purpose of the event. The same type of information is then provided for the modern Olympics. The lesson could be used in conjunction with a lesson related to Ancient Greece or it could be connected to a PE class.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Display the Olympic rings. Ask students:  What do these rings mean?  What do the Olympics mean to you?  Do you follow the Olympics?
  2. Allow for responses and discussion, encouraging students to share what they know about the games, and how much effort they place in watching them.
  3. Allow for additional responses and discussion. Introduce Olympic History.
  4. Distribute Olympic History content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students, allowing time to choose one of the options.  Distribute the necessary supplies/paper as the students need them.  Circulate through the room ensuring students remain on task.  Allow access to a computer for those creating a brochure, if they choose.
  6. Once completed, students share the city design or brochure. In addition, discuss the responses to the question related to the Olympic creed.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.  You may expand on some of the comparison responses by asking about specific events, etc., that may be different, and other differences, or what is the same.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  9. In closing, ask students: If you became a part of the Olympics, what would you choose to do and why? Participate as an athlete (what event), become a volunteer to assist with the planning, help with the opening ceremonies, officiate, etc.
  10. Allow for responses and discussion. There is extensive planning and participation in the Olympics, so encourage students to choose a role to play.

Common Core State Standards:


Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions.

Additional Resources:

Many more teaching resources in Download!

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Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies