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Skater Michelle Kwan Goes for the Gold



  • Physical Education
    --Team Sports
  • Social Studies
    --Current Events
    ----U.S. History


Grades 2-up

News Content

How will figure skater Michelle Kwan do in the 2006 Winter Olympic Games?

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below.

  • Michelle Kwan will skate in this year's Winter Olympic Games.
  • Kwan won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics.
  • This year's U.S. woman's figure skating team at the Olympics will have three members.
  • The world figure skating championships are held every year.

News Words

Write the words below on a board or chart. Ask students to identify and spell the root word, or base word (shown in parentheses), of each word:
skater (skate), championships (champ or champion), chosen (chose), watched (watch), deciding (decide), competing (compete)

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Skater Michelle Kwan Goes for the Gold.

You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

* Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

* Students might first read the news story to themselves; then call on individual students to read the news aloud for the class.

* Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

* Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write a note in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

More Facts to Share

You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this week's news story.

  • When Michelle Kwan was unable to skate at this year's U.S. national championships because of a groin injury, she petitioned the U.S. Figure Skating committee for the right to compete. At the time, the committee voted 20 to 3 to approve Kwan's request with the stipulation that she must prove herself during a monitoring session that would be held in late January.
  • Kwan has won five world championships. That's the most by a female skater since Carol Heiss won five between 1956 and 1960. She has won a total of nine medals at world championships -- the most by an American skater - including those five medals, three silvers, and one bronze.
  • Kwan has won nine U.S. national championships, which ties a record set by Maribel Vinson-Owen, who won nine championships in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Michelle's older sister, Karen, competed in figure skating too. She finished fifth in the national figure skating championships in 1996.
  • Did you know that Kwan was named after a song ("Michelle") recorded by the Beatles?
  • You might share with students the graphic organizer that details Michelle Kwan's competitive skating history.

Comprehension Check

Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson; ask students to respond again to the statements in it.

  • Michelle Kwan will skate in this year's Winter Olympic Games. (true)
  • Kwan won the gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. (false, she has not won gold in the Olympics)
  • This year's U.S. woman's figure skating team at the Olympics will have three members. (true)
  • The world figure skating championships are held every year. (true, the nationals and worlds are held every year; the Olympics are only held once every four years)

You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

Recalling Detail

  • Where are this year's Winter Olympic Games being held? (in Torino, Italy)
  • How many people were on the committee that judged Michelle Kwan fit to compete in this year's Olympics? (five people)
  • How many times has Kwan competed in the Olympic Games? (twice before; this is the third time)
  • How many national and world championships has Michelle Kwan won in all? (14 in all -- she has won 9 national championships and 5 world championships)
  • Who are the other women who will compete as members of the U.S. figure skating team at the Olympics? (Sasha Cohen and Kimmie Meissner)
  • On what date will the first women's skating event be held in Torino? (on February 21)

Think About the News
Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page. In addition, you might ask these questions:

  • After the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Michelle Kwan was quoted as saying, "At times is think 'Why should I push myself all those long hours in the rink?' But then I think 'How will I ever know how good I could have been?' I want to be the Michael Jordan of my sport." What did Kwan mean when she said I want to be the Michael Jordan of my sport?
  • What is your favorite sport to watch in the Winter Olympic Games? Why is that your favorite?

Follow-Up Activities

Be sure to see Education World's Winter Olympic Games lesson plans:


Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

National Standards

GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)

GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-WH.5-12.8 The 20th Century

See recent news stories in Education World's News Story of the Week Archive.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2006 Education World