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Winter Olympic Torch Traveling Across Italy


  • Physical Education
    --Team Sports
  • Social Studies
    --Current Events
    ----World History


Grades 2-up

News Content

The Olympic torch is on its way to Torino, site of the 2006 Winter Olympics.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, ask students to agree or disagree with each of the statements below.
  • The Olympic Winter Games are held every February.
  • The 2006 Olympic Winter Games are being held in Greece.
  • The Olympic cauldron will be lit at the opening ceremony of the games.
  • More than 10,000 people will carry the flame on its way to Torino.

News Words

Review the words in the News Word Box on the students' printable page. In addition, this week's News for KIDS article includes a number of country names. You might introduce those country names by having students locate Italy on a world map. Ask them to identify the countries that border Italy. (Those countries are Austria, France, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland.) Write those country names on a board or chart. If students are just learning terms of directionality, you might reinforce them by talking about the location of each country. For example, France is located on Italy's western border.

Read the News

Click for a printable version of this week's news story Winter Olympic Torch Traveling Across Italy.

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.

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

    • Italy's president, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, lit the torch in Rome on December 8. He passed it to the first torchbearer, Stefano Baldini, who brought a gold medal home to Italy when he won the marathon at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
    • Before the official start of this year's Olympic Winter Games, the torch will have traveled through all of Italy's 140 cities.
    • You might hear the site of this year's games called Torino and Turin. Both names are correct. English-speaking people usually call the city Turin; most Italians refer to the city as Torino.
    • The symbol of the Olympic flame dates back more than 2,700 years to the ancient Olympics, where a flame burned throughout the games.
    • The flame commemorates the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus. In the Modern Olympics, the torch that's used to light the Olympic flame is lit at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia.
    • The torch relay is a relatively new Olympic tradition; it was first introduced at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.
    • It is considered a great honor to be the final carrier of the flame. That person will light the cauldron in the Olympic stadium. The person selected as the final carrier is usually a sports celebrity from the country that is hosting the games.
    • At the last Olympic Games, which were held in Salt Lake City, Utah, the flame was lit by the entire U.S. ice hockey team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1980.
    • The Olympic flame is extinguished at end of the closing ceremony of the Games.

    Comprehension Check

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

    • The Olympic Winter Games are held every February. (false, they are not held every year; they are held every four years)
    • The 2006 Olympic Winter Games are being held in Greece. (false, they are being held in Torino, Italy)
    • The Olympic cauldron will be lit at the opening ceremony of the games. (true)
    • More than 10,000 people will carry the flame on its way to Torino. (true)

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

    Recalling Detail

    • What are the dates of this year's Olympic Winter Games? (February 10 to 26)
    • When was this year's Olympic flame lit in Greece? (on November 27, 2005)
    • How many torchbearers will carry the flame during this year's torch relay? (10,001)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students' news page. You might also ask students Why do you think the Olympic Games are considered such a special event?

    Follow-Up Activities

    Education World offers many activities for teaching about this year's Olympic Winter Games. Click on each of the article titles below to find a wide variety of activities that can be used leading up to and during this year's games.


    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

    National Standards

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-WH.5-12.3 Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires
    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