• Jessica Kaminski

Olympic Level Math

I love the Olympics! I enjoy watching the best athletes in the world compete and seeing the different events. As I became a teacher, I learned that so much of the data collected from the Olympic events can be used for some valuable instruction. This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite ways to use Olympic data with a FREEBIE template that can be downloaded to begin sharing these amazing events with your students.

First of all, if you haven't checked out the Olympics website, I strongly urge you to check it out. There is data recorded from previous games that allow students to explore everything they could possibly want to know! You can even see information from the 1896 Olympic games and learn about each set of games!


I have found that using the data from the Olympics can help spread interest in my math class. There are so many numbers involved in each game that we can use to manipulate, but now my students are interested in the number, because it's connected to something they want to see. We can talk about how fast a swimmer was or the marathon time of our favorite runner.


You don't have to do anything fancy to use Olympic data in your math lesson. Just think about your concept and take a look at some of the information! Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  • Make a tally chart of each medal count for your specific country. (Grades K-1) Use the tally chart to make a picture graph comparing a few countries.

  • Choose a few scores or distances recorded and compare them. Challenge students to determine who will win each medal and then check with the judges. This can be done for multiple grade levels depending on the type of score you use. There are some scores that go into different place values.

  • Discuss rounding of scores by looking at why they go into the thousandths place. This is one of my favorites. Choose a few scores and invite students to order them. Then, ask students to round them to the nearest tenth and order them again. It may prove to be impossible to determine the winner, because the scores were so close! Discuss why the scores are recorded to their specific place instead.

  • Choose two scores or distances and perform operations by finding the difference or the sum. This works really well with distances and measurement. Encourage students to grab measuring tools and see how long those distances would be if combined or how much of a difference there would be.

  • Make number patterns by looking at place value. Even seeing the pattern between the years of the summer and winter Olympics is a great way for students to study the way numbers change when following a pattern!

Of course, this is not the only way to use Olympic data, but it's just some of my favorites. Click below to grab your FREE download that includes templates for doing some of these activities including a medal count, comparison activities and place value charts.

If you want even more Olympic fun, check out my Olympic Level Fraction activities. These activities help students compare and learn more about mixed numbers and improper fractions. It's an easy and inexpensive download with fun graphics to make this season extra special.


How are you using the Olympics in your classroom? Leave us a comment with a few more fun ideas!

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