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Create Your Own Classroom Olympic Games


Subjects: Language Arts: English; Mathematics: Arithmetic, Measurement, Statistics; Physical Education
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 

Brief Description

Students compete in activities that emphasize a wide variety of skills and knowledge as well as some luck.



  • choose the activities in which they wish to compete.
  • keep score as they compete.


arithmetic, competition, computation, games, Olympic Games, physical fitness, pyramid, snowman, spelling, tongue-twister

Materials Needed

Activities require no materials or easy-to-find materials. See individual activities for requirements.

Lesson Plan

Take advantage of students' excitement surrounding the Olympic Games by holding your own fun Olympics of mostly non-athletic events. Award gold, silver, or bronze medals to the students. (All students might earn a bronze medal in each event -- just for competing!) You might schedule ten events, explain what each event entails, and invite students to sign up to participate in eight of the events. At the conclusion of the games, students can tally their points -- 3 points for each gold medal, 2 points for each silver medal, and 1 point for each bronze medal. Top point-getters might receive special prizes.


You can also create a chart to be used throughout the competition. The chart should include a row with each student's name on it. The student is awarded three stars for each gold medal, two for each silver medal, and one for each bronze medal. In the end, the star chart will serve as a pictograph or bar graph so winners can easily be seen!

Which activities might you include in your Classroom Olympics? Adapt your favorite activity -- anything from a Simon Says to a spelling bee -- for the competition. The list below offers eight possible activities that can be included or adapted for your Olympic Games.


Cap off your Classroom Olympic Games with a big snowball fight. Instead of snow, use crumpled sheets of 8 1/2- by 11-inch math paper!

Now try one of the activities below!

  • Snowball Pyramid Pitch
    Create a pyramid of tin cans. (Five tin cans make up the bottom row. The next row up has four cans, then three cans, then two, then one.) Provide each competing student with three snowballs -- three rolled-up pairs of white socks. Draw a starting line from which the students will throw their snowballs. How many of the 15 cans can each student knock down with three throws? The student who knocks down the most cans gets the gold, the second highest scorer gets the silver, and all others get bronze. In case of a tie, award multiple medals or move the start line back a foot and hold a playoff round. Separate medal competitions might be held for boys and girls. Students who elect not to compete in this event can help by being can-setters.
  • Speedy Spelling
    This game serves as practice for spelling words from the previous semester. Arrange participants in a row. Call out the first word. The first person in line calls out the first letter in that word, the second person calls out the second letter, the third person calls out the third letter, and on goes the game. A student is eliminated if he or she says the incorrect letter when it is his/her turn. When the students have spelled the first word, start the spelling of the second word with the next person in line. When only two players remain, they compete against each other for the gold and silver medals. To award more medals, give gold to all students still standing after the spelling of a list of 20 words.
  • Pin the Nose on the Snowman
    Create a large outline of a snowman, with two eyes, a hat, a scarf, buttons everything except the nose! An X marks the spot where the nose belongs. Provide each student with a carrot-shaped nose cut from orange paper. Blindfold each student and play this game just as you would play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The student who comes closest to putting the nose in the proper spot is the gold medallist. The second closest student gets the silver. If you wish to award more medals, everyone who places the nose on the snowman's head might earn a gold medal, everyone who places the nose on the snowman's body is awarded a silver medal, and all other participants earn bronze medals.
  • Battle of the Blowballs
    Each student who participates in this event gets a plastic drinking straw. Cut two columns of brown paper 6 inches wide and 2 feet high; attach the columns to a wall about four feet apart to serve as the goalposts. Student competitors use their straws to blow a ping-pong ball from one end of the classroom to the end, where the goalposts are set up. Record the time it takes for each participant to get the ball between the goalposts. Fastest time earns a gold medal. Second-fastest time gets the silver. You might provide separate medal competitions for boys and girls. To award more medals, set a 2-minutes time limit and give gold to all students who achieve a goal within that time.
  • Tongue-Twister Tournament
    Use the Tongue Twister Database or The EFL Playhouse: Tongue Twister Database as your source of tongue twisters. Choose tongue twisters of appropriate length and readability for your students. Prepare chart paper so that a single tongue twister is written on ten different sheets. Arrange the tongue twister sheets from easiest to most difficult. Unveil the first (easiest) tongue twister. Provide time for students to practice saying the tongue twister fast three times. Then it's time for the competition to begin! Five students who are not competing can serve as judges for the competition. The judges will arbitrate any disputes; simple majority rules by secret ballot. The gold medal goes to the student who is able to say the most tongue twisters without being eliminated.
  • Snowball Throw
    Use the rolled up socks again -- although this time they might get dirty! Take students outside to see who can throw the snowball-socks the farthest (the gold medallist) and the second farthest (silver medallist). Separate medal competitions might be held for boy and girls. If you wish to give more medals, you can provide gold to the three longest throws, silver to the next three, and bronze to all other competitors.
  • The Math Meet
    Provide each student with a pad, a handheld whiteboard, or a stack of scrap paper. Let students know that you (or one of the students who is not participating in this competition) will state each math problem once and only once; you will state the problem slowly so students have time to write the problem as you speak it. Students start their computation as soon they have heard the complete problem. You might opt to make this a quiet competition; the first student to hold up the correct answer -- without and grunts or groans or any other calls for attention -- is awarded five points. The second student to get the correct answer gets 3 points. The third person gets 1 point. Speed counts, but so does accuracy; any of the first students who come up with wrong answers will receive a 3-point deduction! Tally the scores at the end of ten math problems. The non-competitors can sit at the front of the classroom and help the teacher keep tabs on who was first, second, and third to raise their hand.
  • A to Z in 1-2-3!
    Each student writes the letters A to Z on a sheet of paper. The teacher calls out a category (e.g., food). The students have three (1-2-3) minutes to create an alphabetical list of as many foods as they can think of; only one food is allowed for each letter of the alphabet. Students who write verified lists of 13 or more foods continue on to the second round of the competition. Choose a different category for Round 2. (Category suggestions include things in nature, people's first names, famous people's last names, or cities.) At the end of three rounds, the person with the most verified appropriate items on their ABC lists is the gold medallist. The person with the second highest tally earns the silver. If you wish to award more medals, you might give the gold to the three top list makers, silver to the next three, and bronze to all others.


Students record their results on a chart. You might award special prizes to the overall winners of the competition.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards






Last updated 05/31/2012