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Lessons from Athens

Intended as "a resource for the end of the summer term when teachers and pupils are feeling jaded and in need of something different", a set of key stage 3 and 4 Olympic project packs from Cable Education will greatly enhance for all the enjoyment and understanding of Athens 2004.

Ideally, the pack should be used as part of an Olympics week, when the normal timetable is suspended in favour of activities based on the joint themes of the Olympic Games and Ancient and Modern Greece. Rather than just winding down towards the end of term, pupils can stage a mini-Olympics, take part in an opening ceremony, make moussaka, construct a model stadium, perform a play about the ancient and modern Games, and much more.

The project consists of nine packs, each focusing on a core curriculum area. For those that don't want the whole set, individual packs for departmental mini-projects can be purchased. Each pack contains a set of photocopiable pupil sheets plus a set of teacher notes. The activities only require materials that are readily available in schools, the worksheets are well presented and the teacher notes are informative.

The quality of the activities is variable. For example, the food technology pack includes some exciting making-and-tasting activities alongside some rather bland word-search and crossword puzzles. But with around 10 activities in each pack, it is possible to pick the best and keep pupils occupied and engaged.

The history pack is particularly interesting, especially the sections relating to memorable Games of the past: Berlin 1936, Mexico City 1968, Munich 1972 and Moscow 1980. The stark contrast at the 1936 Games between Hitler's theory of Aryan supremacy and the outstanding performances of black athlete Jesse Owens is guaranteed to engage pupils' interest and spark some lively debate.

Many of the activities will - as the publishers claim - run with very little preparation. But a little extra time spent preparing them properly and using them creatively will pay dividends, and should result in an exciting and memorable finish to the school year.

As the Games don't start until August, most packs contain suggestions for interesting homework assignments to be completed during the competition.

* Olympic Project. Nine photocopiable packs; pound;19.95 per pack (one pack free with complete set). From Cable Education Tel: 01723 890351

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