from the Past
Origin of the Modern
Subject: Social Studies /
Time needed: 1 X 45 min.
Ideas from the
past can enrich the present and guide the future.
In a world of quickly
changing styles, fashions, and values, students
may feel that only new ideas are valuable. In
fact, most ideas are based on the beliefs, ideas,
and knowledge of past generations. Lessons of
the past can enrich the present and act as springboards
for new ideas.
Students will compare
and contrast the modern and ancient Olympic
Students will consider
how people use ideas from the past to enrich
# 1 and #2: The Birth of the Ancient Games
and The Origin of the Modern Summer Games.
Video available from Griffin Publishing Group
(Note: While the video segment is a good
addition to this lesson plan, it is not essential
for successful completion of the activities.)
Student Reading: The Ancient Games
Student Reading: The Games Revived
Venn Diagram: Compare and Contrast Ancient
Have students tell a favorite story from past
may begin with the question, "How many students
have heard stories that begin with 'When I
was your age...'?" (Example: Stories of how
far parents walked to school in the snow.)
student feelings about these stories. Are
they relevant today?
that societies value traditions and pass them
down to each generation, but that we can also
learn from and improve on the past.
products at the grocery store that say "New
students to list the things that they wish
could be continually improved and those things
that they wish would stay the same.
Show Video Segment
#1: The Birth of the Ancient Games, followed
by Video Segment #2: The Origin of the Modern
Discuss as a class ways in which Pierre de Coubertin
was inspired by the study of Greek culture and
the discovery of ancient Olympia, the original
site of the ancient Olympic Games.
to read the two Student Readings: The Ancient
Games and The Games Revived. Use the Venn Diagram:
Compare and Contrast Ancient Games/Modern Games
to compare and contrast the various elements
of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.
- You may wish
to have students explore technological improvements
in the tools and equipment used over the years
in the modern Olympic Games.
Write an essay
describing how the spirit of Olympism was a
gift from ancient Olympians that is still applicable
Create a timeline
that traces an Olympic event from ancient times
to the present, and then predict the changes
that might occur in the sport in the future.
Use a combination
of old utensils, appliances, or tools collected
from home or second-hand shops to create a tool
for a new Olympic game.
- Write the rules
of the new game and describe the use of the
Have students divide
into groups of four to role-play the following
scenario. Then have the groups submit their
plans before the entire class. The entire class
should determine which one of the plans they
would submit to the Olympic committee:
- The students
in your classroom have just been awarded a
contract to review the awards ceremonies of
the Olympic Games.
- Students are
to make recommendations to the governing board
about changes that should be made during the
- Students should
write proposals about the best way to award
the winners their medals.
- Possible questions
to be asked: Should flags of countries be
raised? Should national anthems be played?
Should medals be used as awards, or should
something new be given? Should the winners
stand on platforms of varying heights?
(c) 1996 By Griffin
Publishing / United States Olympic Committee
Published by Griffin
Publishing under license from the United States
Olympic Committee. This publication is a creative
work fully protected by all applicable rights.
All rights reserved. A classroom teacher may
reproduce copies of the material in this book
for classroom use only.