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Humanities - Leap into 2012 ceremonies

What it's all about

Primary schools are already looking for ways to tap into pupils' enthusiasm for the 2012 Olympics. The simplest solution is to create a topic web with "The Olympics" at the centre and make a medium-term plan for lessons focusing on the games, writes Andrew Wrenn.

For it to be effective, you should:

- restrict coverage to a particular aspect of the Olympics;

- limit the number of subjects included in a particular plan;

- identify a subject, such as history, that will take the lead;

- devise interesting, challenging key questions that spark pupils' curiosity while setting up a problem for them to solve.

The Olympics offer many opportunities for primary history, the most obvious being the Ancient Greeks at key stage 2 (upper primary). But to cover all the history of the Ancient Olympics would leave children swamped with facts. A narrower focus on one aspect, such as the opening ceremony, lends itself to a series of key questions: "How do we know how the Ancient Greeks opened the games?" (look at evidence); "What shall we include in our reconstruction?" (create an interpretation); "How have ceremonies changed?" (contrast them).

For the first question, children can track down images of archaeological remains and read contemporary and modern accounts of ceremonies. Such a focus could lead to literacy, geography, speaking, listening and drama; design and music.

What else?

For cross-curricular Olympics-themed resources, try FranklinWatts' activities.

Try a fun introduction to the Ancient Greek Games with rcolton's PowerPoint.

Lorraryall has shared a topic web full of inspiration for teaching Ancient Greece.

You can find more resources about this era in the TES Ancient Greece collection.

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