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

Lesson Introduction:
The focus for students high school is to research the impact of history, nationalism, and politics on the games and the athletes as well as write an in-depth, current events story on Olympics 2004.

Background (1 day)
Hold a class discussion on the upcoming Olympic Games. Ask students what they remember from the last Olympics. Prompt them to remember details of the events and ask them how they know these details. Prompt students to think about the news coverage that the Olympic Games receive and how that effect their memories as well as history.

For homework, hand students a printed copy of the Olympic Games article found in the Research Starter. Direct them to write one question that they would like to learn more about at the bottom of the article

Research Starter: Olympics (5–6 days)
As a class, make a list of questions students came up with after reading their background article and write them on the board. Inform students that they will be writing a research paper on the Olympic Games, and they can pick any of the topics on the board or they can focus on another area of research within the Olympic Game topic.

Direct students individually or in small groups to the Olympic Games Research Starter. Remind students that more information can be found off-line in the library.

For information and tips on writing a research paper, see the Writing Workshop: Research Paper to record their findings and answer their research questions.

When the research reports are complete, students can present their work through an oral presentation to the rest of the class.

Extend the Lesson

Investigative Reporting (3–4 days)

Now that students have done a research report on the Olympic Games, you can extend the lesson by having them write in-depth news reports on the 2004 Olympics.

Tell students that they are going to be reporters on the scene at the Olympics, and they have an assignment: write an in-depth article on the 2004 Olympic Games. As good investigative reporters, they need to dig deep into the subject matter.

Direct students to the Scholastic News special report on the Olympics and hand each student a printed copy of the 5 Ws (PDF). If the library is available, have students continue their research through printed newspaper and magazine articles. This research should continue in class or as homework for several days.

When students have complete their research and filled out their 5Ws, they should be prepared to write their article. Direct students to follow the steps outlined in Writing with Writers: News Writing. Students should print the preview page to hand in for teacher assessment. See assessment and evaluation.

Cross-Curricular Extensions

Vocabulary Building
Explain to the students that the Greeks also influenced the English language, they are going to find out through the “It's Greek to Me” activity. Print a study list (PDF) for students to review – students can review in class while other students are on the computers or they can all review the list at home as homework. Students should play the game repeatedly, trying to get gold medals and improve their vocabulary.

Discussion Questions:
How has the Olympic Games developed from ancient Greek to today?
How do politics affect the Olympic Games?
Ideally, what should be the nature of the competition? What is it really?
How does commercialism play into today's Olympic Games?
What kind of memories do we have from the last Olympic Games? Who or what shaped that memory?

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