What's it all about?
This year sees the 96th Tour de France, where cyclists from all over the world will cover a distance of 3,500 kilometres, over 21 stages. The race takes place throughout France and a nearby country, this time Spain. The finish will be in Paris on the Champs-Elysees.
To introduce the assembly, demonstrate on a map the route for this year's Tour de France. Start in Monaco, continue down to Barcelona and finish in Paris. To put the cyclists' effort in perspective, it may be worth mentioning that it is the first time there will be a mountain to climb the day before the finish, a hard push just before the end, similar to pupils having to do exams before leaving school.
This assembly will give you the opportunity to get the pupils involved in numeracy, get to grips with different cultures, including languages and history of the race, as well as mapping skills.
To make it more accessible, move the race to the UK. Ask pupils in what direction the cyclists would travel to finish in London's Mall. Another question on numeracy could include asking pupils to calculate the distance between Kent and Canterbury, (127 miles). 5 miles = 8 kilometres, so what was the distance in kilometres? Finish the assembly by letting the pupils mark each other's work.
Help, I've no time to prepare
The TES website has a downloadable assembly www.tes.co.uktourdefrance that is based on the race.
Where do I get more information?
The official Tour de France website (www.letour.fr) has plenty of information on the event and the route for 2009. Cyclingnews.com also covers details of the race, including results and information about the cyclists taking part.