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Gateway to the Summer Games - Lesson Plans
Creating a World of Peace at Home and Abroad
The Spirit Continues
  Grade Level: 4-8
Subject: Social Studies, Geography, English, Art
Time needed: 4 X 45 min. sections
Lesson Overview

Gaining peace through an understanding of different peoples.

Background Information

Geography Awareness Week is an annual event sponsored by the National Geographic Society to highlight important current geographic issues. Entire schools can participate in activities based around each year's theme. This lesson is designed to involve every student in becoming more aware of the importance of peaceful co-existence by asking each class to "become" a country for the week or for the year. During this week or year, students will also be asked to participate in the ancient Olympic tradition of the Ekecheira - the "Sacred Truce" -- which dictates that no violence or anger take place anywhere in the school.


Become aware of the lives of children in other countries.

Compare and contrast events happening in the world with those happening at home.

Learn the importance of peace and the spirit of Olympism.


Video Segment #5: The Spirit Continues. Video available from Griffin Publishing Group at
(Note: While the video segment is a good addition to this lesson plan, it is not essential for successful completion of the activities.)
Student Document: Observance of the Olympic Truce
Video Review Questions: The Spirit Continues
Maps, encyclopedias, other source books and visual materials, information on the United Nations and the Olympic truce.
Various materials with which to make displays, posters, etc.


Suggested Lesson Plan:

If possible, show Video Segment #5: The Spirit Continues to the entire student body to introduce ways in which the spirit of Olympism can be used to help bring unity to the school, as well as to the world. (Students can complete Video Review Questions while viewing video.)

Prior to the week, discuss the Student Document: Observance of the Olympic Truce, and apply it to the school setting: no harassment, no fighting or derogatory talk by any member of the student body to anyone in the school during the coming week.

Have a "Pep Rally for Peace" at the end of the week to celebrate the successes the school has had, inviting as a guest speaker a local or foreign community leader who is active in improving community relations.

Have each classroom in the school choose a different country of the world for them to represent during Geography Awareness Week. Student/teacher committees could be set up to plan positive school and classroom activities for the week.

Divide each class into groups working on various geographic themes, which can be used to portray their assigned country. Visual displays, including flags and descriptions, can be posted on classroom doors, or on bulletins boards in the halls or classrooms.

Good-will ambassadors (who may also be teachers) from each class can be assigned to watch for acts of kindness. Ambassadors can distribute some kind of tickets, which can be turned in for rewards (e.g., name read on intercom, extra few minutes at recess, candy, etc.).

A sign titled, "The Spirit of Olympism" can be put up in the halls.

Badges or ribbons with a peace-oriented theme can be given to students as a reminder to be kind.

Student Products

Students or student groups will create an "International Peace Poster," using the Olympic torch as the dominant idea or focus. Consider using flags, medals, and games as a part of the subject matter. Use color to unify the composition and to convey the message. Presentations may be turned in, presented to class members, and/or shared with the entire school at the "Pep Rally for Peace" at the end of the week.

Additional Activities

Have students sign pledge letters or a banner agreeing to show acts of kindness to others during a specified time period. Those letters or the banner could then be sent to the United Nations, the governor, etc.

You may wish to communicate with people from foreign countries who are living in your school area, people who have traveled to foreign countries, or representatives from other countries through appropriate embassies of travel bureaus.

Create a pen pal network with a classroom from another country to compare and contrast ways of living between two groups.

(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.

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