This complete unit plan can be taught in seven class periods, or lesson components can be taught individually as described below.

Lesson Introduction:
The focus for students in this age group is to gain an understanding of the Olympic Games and focus on the current events aspect of the games. Students will be writing and presenting their material.

Background (1 day)
Hold a class discussion on the upcoming Olympic Games. Ask students if they remember the last Olympics. Prompt students to talk about why the games are held, and the spirit of international cooperation that the games are meant to foster. At the end of the discussion, tell students that they are going to look at the history of the Olympics in order to know more about the present day Olympics especially when they watch them on TV in August.

History of the Games
Either hand out printouts of the background article on the Olympic Games or direct students, in groups of two or three, to the computers where the article is already loaded. Once they have read through the articles, students should raise their hands in order to receive the Organizer Pattern: Timeline. Once they have the handout, students should go through the Olympics in Photos activity. As they click through the photos, students should fill out their timelines with appropriate details.

If there is time at the end of the class, have students return to talk about what they learned. Did they find any facts that surprised them? What were they and why were they surprised. Looking at their filled out timelines, do students want to make any guesses as to what kind of historic events could happen in this upcoming Olympics?

Have students hand in their filled out timelines for teacher assessment.

Depending on the time available, you may want to choose either the "In My Backyard" or the "Olympics in the News” activity. Alternately, you can have students choose one of these activities to complete. If different groups of students complete different activities, you may want to set up some time

In My Backyard (1–3 days)
Print out the article "How Olympic Locations are Chosen" for students to read as homework. The next day, hold a class discussion. Now that students have an idea of what past Olympic Games were like, ask students if it makes sense for a city to host the Olympics. On the board, write the pros and cons to hosting the Olympics. Then, ask students if they would want the Olympics to come to their hometown. What would they like about it? How could it help their city or town? Add these comments to the board.

Direct students to the Writing with Writers: Speechwriting activity and tell them that they will be writing and presenting persuasive speeches that will convince the International Olympic Committee to bring the Olympics to their hometown. If there is more class time for the project, have students complete the activity the following day. Or, these final steps should be done as homework. Some class time should be devoted for practice with one another before recording their speech. Check back within a month to see if your speeches were published online!

Extend This Lesson
Ask for volunteer students to present their speech to the class. As each student presents their speech, tell the rest of the class that they are acting as the International Olympic Committee. The Committee members should judge each speech on clarity and whether it addresses each of the important needs pointed out in the "How Olympic Locations are Chosen" article.

Olympics in the News and Be a Reporter (1-3 days)
Tell students that they are going to be reporters on the scene at the Olympics. As reporters, they must read what other reporters are reporting on the games and then write their own newspaper article, and they will do this with Scholastic News online.

Direct students to the Scholastic News special report on the Olympics and hand each student a printed copy of the 5 Ws (PDF). Either pick a topic for them to explore (a specific event, an athlete, Greece, etc.) or have them pick a topic on their own. They should fill out the 5 Ws organizer as they explore and read different articles. Give them the rest of the class period, and have them hand the filled organizers for teacher assessment.

On the second day, have the Be a Reporter game loaded on the computer and hand back the completed 5 Ws graphic organizers. Instruct students to follow the steps in the activity, write the best newspaper article they can, and print out the results. Before printing the article, students should highlight the entire article, photo and caption, copy everything and paste into a word document. Save the World document, print the article and switch their article with a peer. For homework, students should read through their peer's printed article, writing notes on the printout.

On the third day, students should hand back their edited articles, and students should go through the steps of the Be a Reporter game, using their saved Word document and completing a final draft. This final version should be printed and handed in along with the original draft for a final grade.

Get in the Game (1–2 days)
As a wrap-up, cross-curricular activity for the Olympics, have students play the "It's Greek to Me" activity.

Regroup the students and ask them what clues they have gathered on how the ancient Greeks have influenced the Olympic Games and our modern society. Ask them about the themes of the games, the politics of the ancient Greeks, and the actual sports themselves.

Explain to the students that the Greeks also influenced the English language and they are going to find out through the "It's Greek to Me" activity. If a computer is available for each student, students should play the game individually. If students are paired to a computer, have one student as the driver and one student as the decision maker and reverse these roles halfway through the class. Alternately, if fewer computers are available, print a study list (PDF) for students to review as other students test their knowledge. Encourage students to play the game often enough to receive a medal which they can print out and put on a bulletin board.
See assessment and evaluation.

Cross-Curricular Extensions

Art and Writing
Before the class begins, pre-load the Olympic Spirit postcards on the computers. When students come to class, tell them that they are going to create their own e-cards, print them out, and send them to friends. Encourage students to make cards that tell a story. When students have their printouts, have them write the story on the back of the printout. These stories should be as descriptive as possible. If there is time, students should further illustrate their stories by hand.

Discussion Questions:
What do you see as some of the differences between the theme and spirit of the Ancient Olympics and the modern Olympics?
Why are the Olympics important to the world?
Are the Olympics important to you?
If you were on the International Olympic Committee, what arguments would persuade you to choose a specific location for the next Olympics?
What are some of the themes you see in current events stories about the Olympics today?

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