Olympics in Ancient Greece

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Social Studies, Ancient History

Grade 1- 3

Objective

Students learn about the traditions of early Olympic Games.

Directions

Every two years there is a special excitement in the air. The eyes and ears of the world are on athletes who meet in friendly competition to see who is the fastest runner, the highest jumper, the speediest skier, the most graceful skater. Top athletes from around the world compete for medals signifying that they are the best. The official designation, Olympic Games, refers to the Games held during the summer months every four years. The games held in the winter months every four years are officially known as the Olympic Winter games.
This activity provides students with some of the history of the Olympic Games. Introduce the following facts to students. They will need this information to complete the activity sheet.
The Olympic Games started in the Valley of Olympia in 776 B.C. The Games lasted five days and were only for men and boys.
The first day was spent getting ready to compete. The athletes chose their best games. The judges promised to be fair.
On the second day, there was a chariot race. A chariot is a two-wheeled carriage pulled by four horses. Athletes also ran foot races and did long jumps on this day.
On the third day, there was a big feast. Later, there were foot races, boxing, and wrestling for boys.
The fourth day was for men's foot races, boxing, and wrestling. Some of these events were very rough. Some men got hurt.
On the fifth day the winners were given crowns of olive leaves.
Discuss with students the meanings of the following words.
ancient
athlete
chariot
compete
feast
Ask students how they think the Olympic Games got its name.
Distribute the activity sheets and drawing materials to students.

Resources

  • crayons or colored pencils
  • Ancient Greece Recall activity sheet

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