6th Grade New York


This inquiry uses the ancient and modern Olympic games as a context for students to explore the compelling question “Are the Olympics about more than sports?” The Olympics play an important role in modern society, bringing together athletes from around the world every four years to display and celebrate human athleticism; however, the Olympics are about more than just sports. Since their inception in ancient Greece, the Olympics have provided people with different beliefs and backgrounds—even among groups in conflict—an opportunity to gather in the spirit of cooperation and sharing. Students investigate the ancient and modern Olympics using a range of historical and secondary sources to learn more about the historical and mythological origins of the games; the rebirth of the games in France under the leadership of Pierre de Coubertin; and the broader goals of the Olympics, including nurturing the arts.


Compelling Question:

Are the Olympics about More than Sports?

Staging the Question:

Discuss the pros and cons of school sports as they relate to uniting people.

Supporting Question What is the history and mythology of the ancient Greek Olympics?

Formative Task List 10 people, places, or events related to the history and mythology of the ancient Greek Olympics.

Sources Source A: Image bank: Ancient Olympic games
Source B: “The Olympic Games, History,” excerpt from Description of Greece
Source C: “Olympic Games, Mythical History,” excerpt from Description of Greece


Supporting Question What are the goals of the modern Olympic movement?

Formative Task Construct a Venn diagram contrasting the modern Olympic movement with the ancient Olympics.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from Official Report of the Games of the First Olympiad
Source B: “ Video: Living the Olympic Values
Source C: “What Is Olympism?” excerpt from Olympism and the Olympic Movement


Supporting Question How are the arts a part of the modern Olympics?

Formative Task Make a claim about the importance of the arts in the Olympics.

Sources Source A: Excerpt from “Pindar, Poetry, and the Olympics”
Source B: Excerpt from “Inviting the Artists: Paris 1906”

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Do the Olympics unite us? Construct an argument (e.g., a speech, movie, poster, or essay) using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources that explains to what extent the Olympics unite the world.
Extension: Craft a rationale for a proposal to hold a local version of the Olympics in the community.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Identify why participating in sports is beneficial to students and the school community.
Assess: Design a plan to implement one or more ideals of Olympism in the school or district.
Act: Implement one or more ideals of Olympism in the school or district.