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Barb's Olympic Adventure Continues
Sydney's history and getting horses to Sydney!

Curriculum CenterBarbara Taddeo, a middle school special education teacher in San Mateo, California, is in Australia! While at the Summer Olympics, Taddeo will share with Education World readers her experiences and observations as a volunteer at the Games in Sydney. Plus she'll offer lessons to help Education World readers use the Olympic Games in their classrooms! Follow Taddeo's journey through her reports from Sydney!


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It is wonderful to be back in Sydney. I have not been here in 25 years and it is just as exciting as ever. Sydney is a bustling, vibrant, very clean, beautiful city in the state of New South Wales. The Australian states are similar to our states, except there are only seven of them.

Teachers: Challenge students to look at a map of Australia. See if they can name the other states.

As you know by now, Sydney is the home of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Olympic banners are everywhere. At each Olympics there are color themes, which are carried out throughout the city hosting the games. For these Games, the banners are either reddish or blue in color.

Thousands of visitors from throughout the world have converged on the very beautiful city. For those of you who are familiar with large cities, Sydney is filled with high-rise buildings. If you shut your eyes you might think you were in San Francisco or New York City.

Teachers: This is the first time Sydney has hosted the Olympics. You might challenge students to research the sites of previous Olympic Games. Can they find another Australian city that has hosted the Olympics? When did that happen? (Answer: It was Melbourne, in 1956.)

Go to From Athens to Atlanta, Historical Recap to learn more details about the 1956 Games. Students who want to learn more about the 1956 Olympic Games can check out the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Web site from the State Library of Victoria.

At the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, there were no equestrian events. The horses were not allowed into the country because of its strict quarantine laws. Instead, the horse events were held in Stockholm, Sweden. That is why this Olympics is so special. This shipment of horses was the largest shipment of horses at one time in history and it went off without a hitch. Not one horse was injured or became sick. In less then one hour from the time they landed the horses were in vans on their way to Olympic Park. The grooms, the people who take care of the horses, cleared customs at the horse park so the animals would not have to wait any longer then possible. The horses are absolutely beautiful! It will be so exciting to watch them compete. I will be writing more about the horses!

Sydney is a very old city. The first inhabitants were the Aborigines and the Torres Strait Islanders who migrated from Asia 60,000 years ago. Historians have found artifacts that date back 50,000 years in the Sydney area. The site of the famous Sydney Opera House is considered sacred ground to the Aborigines.

In 1770, Captain Cook claimed Australia for England. After the British lost the American Revolution they did not have anyway to transport their prisoners back to England. Instead, they took them to Sydney where they established a penal colony. Many of the people on the East coast of the United States can trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower; it is considered an honor in this country for a person to be able to trace his or her ancestors back to the prisoners brought here in the 1700's.

Today, I took the ferry across Sydney Harbor to Manley. Sydney Harbor is a bustling harbor filled with ships, ferryboats, and small sailboats from throughout the world. While taking the ferry I was able to watch the United States sailing team practice. This will be the first Olympics in which the sailing events will be held so close to shore. Spectators will have plenty of opportunities for to watch the event.

While on the ferry I was able to talk to members of the German rowing team.

Teachers: For those students who are tracking Germany's participation in the Olympics, we will be keeping track of the team scores throughout the Games. You might have those students go to the Official Site of the Sydney 2000 Games; they can click "Athletes" and search the athlete database by country, sport, or athlete name.

In your classroom, students can start hanging flags representing the countries they are following during the Olympic Games.

Barbara Taddeo has created these activities for the students of three schools -- but she has been kind enough to agree to share her daily reports with Education World's readers. We're pleased to be included in these daily mailings to the students in Taddeo's 7th grade class in Room 31 at Borel Middle School in San Mateo, California; Mrs. Hirschmann's class at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Turersville, New Jersey; and Lacey Rhoades' class in Mesa, Arizona.

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Barbara Taddeo
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09/15/2000