Resources | Lessons | Children’s Literature on the Olympics

2004 Summer Olympics
Athens, Greece
August 13 – 29, 2004

August 13, 2004 the summer Olympics begin in Athens, the very place where they were first experienced more than 2000 years ago. The world is holding its breath for the countdown to the 2004 Olympics, hoping that this wonderful tradition is not marred by violence. Students throughout the world are looking forward to viewing the spectacular performances of the athletes and teachers are using this enthusiasm to build motivating and exciting classroom lessons around the experience. The Internet is a wonderful source of exciting information and great learning resources on both the historic and modern versions of the Summer Olympics. I have reviewed dozens of sites and selected the following as the best available for classroom use. If you find other sites of value, please email me and we’ll add them to this list.
Margaret ‘Peg’ Hill
SCORE History-Social Science
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools


Athens 2004
This is the official Athens Olympic Games site. It includes the mission and history of the Olympics as well as the sports and the venues for each.

ATHENS 2004: Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
This International Olympic Committee site has all you would want to know about the 2004 Olympics. Select one of the long list of summer sports and find out about its history in the Olympics including the athletes.

BBC Sports - Olympics 2004
Find the latest about athletes in all the summer Olympic events at this British Broadcasting Corporation site.

Online News Sources
Follow the Olympics through any of these many online news sources. Make special note of the differences in their coverage.

Go for the Gold
This site by Scholastic is designed for kids to learn the history of the games, and news related to the 2004 Summer Olympics. Determine if you would want the Olympics in your town.

Ancient Olympics
This special exhibit of the Perseus Digital Library Project includes a tour of ancient Olympia, athlete stories, and the ancient and modern Olympic sports. Today, the Olympic games are the world's largest pageant of athletic skill and competitive spirit. They are also displays of nationalism, commerce and politics. This conflict between the Olympic movement's high ideals and the political acts that accompany the Games has been noted since ancient times. Standards 6.4.1 and 6.4.8

Ancient Olympic Games Virtual Museum
Visit an awesome virtual museum about the Ancient Olympics. Learn the history, the mythology, and how and where the games were played. (Registration required, no charge) Standards 6.4.1 and 6.4.8

Real Story of the Ancient Olympic Games
Were the ancient Olympic games better than ours? More fair and square? More about sports and less about money? Are modern games more sexist? More political? Have we strayed from the ancient Olympic ideal? Explore this site and decide for yourself. Standard 6.4.4

Greek Olympic Games
Learn key information about the ancient Greek Olympics at this History of Kids site. Hyperlinks to key names and places let users follow their interests.


Classroom Olympics
Learn about the ancient Greek Olympics and how to plan and implement an Olympic event for your class. This is a must do set of lessons for all 6th grade students and great way to integrate physical education, math and science with History-Social Science. You need Acrobat Reader on your computer to use this activity but you don't need a live link during class. Standards 6.4.1 and 6.4.4

Picking a Site for the Olympic Games
You are part of the international committee which has been invited to recommend the best sites for the 2012 (Summer) and 2014 (Winter) Olympic Games. Your job is to persuade the Olympic Committee that the site you have selected is the best choice. You are representing Korea and have concerns that the wealthy countries of the West have been over-represented as sites for the Olympics in
the last several years. You feel that the opportunity to host the games is very important for a country's prestige and economic development and, though your country has too recently hosted the games to be considered again, you are sensitive to those issues in selecting another country. Standards 10.10.1 and 10.11

Ancient Greek Olympics
It's around 480 BC. You are an Olympian contestant, representing your city-state at the Olympic games! How would you behave? Let's find out! Join the Olympic team from one of the Greek city-states: Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos, or Megara. You will compete in tongue twisters, sticky ball, humming, ball in a basket, or other equally outrageous "sports" but you must do it as a Greek. Have fun. Standards 6.4.1, 6.4.4, and 6.4.8

Olympic Games: An Historic Event
Learn about the ancient Olympics while at the same time thinking about the future. Your group will create a proposal and a brochure for the events of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The proposal will design an Olympic Games that allows the spectators and athletes to experience the ancient tradition like no other modern Olympics has ever done. Standards 6.4.4, 6.4.8, and 10.11

The Role of Women in the Olympics
After reading the article “Letting Her Hair down” about Kallipateira of Rhodes, who challenged the men only rule of the ancient Olympic games, determine the role of female athletes in the Olympic Games from the original Olympics to future Games. Create a time line displaying the role of female athletes from the first Olympics to the future Games.

Innovative Teaching Newsletter – Summer Olympics 2004
Here are five interdisciplinary activities to assist teachers in including a study of the Olympics in the classroom.

Music and the Olympic Spirit
This site was developed for the 2002 Olympics but would work equally well for the 2004 Summer Olympics. Music is an integral part of the Olympic games. The Olympic anthem and various national anthems help express the spirit of the Olympics. Visit the web sites below to learn more about music and the Olympic spirit. To reach this lesson, select “Curriculum” and then scroll to the lesson title.

Children’s Literature on the Olympics

Nazi Olympics by Susan Bachrach

Robert Crowther’s Pop-Up Olympics: Amazing Facts and Record Breakers by Robert Crowther.

The Olympic Games: Athens 1896 - Athens 2004 by DK Publishing

100 Great Moments in Olympic History by Bud Greenspan

The Summer Olympics (True Books-Sports) by Bob Knotts

Swifter, Higher, Faster: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics by Sue Macy

Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House) by May Pope Osborn

Eyewitness Olympics (Eyewitness Books) by Chris Oxlade

The Original Olympics by Stewart Ross

The Ancient Olympic Games by Judith Swaddling

The Ancient Greek Olympics by Richard Woff

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