An Olympic-Sized Homework Assignment

The 2010 Winter Olympics begin on February 3rd and the Paralympics shortly thereafter on March 3rd. So many families tune in to watch the awe-inspiring feats of these athletes but tune out once the events are finished. There are many ways you can make the most of these events and your time spent in front of the television. Check out these tips for bringing the Olympics into your home, across the curriculum.

Social Studies Get a map of the world and flag the countries as you see them participate in events.

Track the number of countries per continent.

Ask your children the following questions: Why do you think some countries typically perform better in certain events? Does a country's location, economy, or climate affect their performance at events?

ScienceTrack the weather in Vancouver each day. Make a simple bar graph and record the type of weather each day (sunny, cloudy, or snow). Make a line graph that tracks the daily temperature.

Ask your child the following questions: How does the weather affect events? How does the weather affect the athletes?

Language Arts Write a persuasive paragraph and make a case for a sport that is not in the Olympics now to be included in the next Olympics.

Play Hangman using Olympic-themed words.

Have your children define the words determined, represent, and sportsmanship. Have a discussion on how your child can apply these words in his life. Remind your child that these are amateur athletes who are not paid for their performance at the Olympics. Though some athletes go on to secure major endorsement deals, most do it for the love of their sport.

Math Make a chart and tally the gold, silver, and bronze medals for the U.S. and countries from which your families hail.

For timed events, calculate the difference in times between participants.

Call family members and friends and conduct a survey. Have each person choose their favorite event, favorite athlete, and favorite part of the opening ceremony. Create a graph that includes your data.

Jennifer Cerbasi teaches at a public school for children on the autism spectrum in New Jersey. As a coordinator of Applied Behavioral Analysis programs in the home, she works with parents to create and implement behavioral plans for their children in an environment that fosters both academic and social growth. In addition to her work both in the classroom and at home, she is also a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.