Use the Olympics as a theme in your classroom no matter what grade you teach. Divide your class into small groups of five or six students. They can compete in small math activities that help them review for a test or review material from the school year. Not only will your students have a great time, but they will also become mathletes.
Fill in the Blank
Write math problems on index cards, leaving out one of the numbers. For example, 2 + X = 4. Ask one player from each team to answer. Flip the card and the first person to answer wins. You can reward one point for each correct answer. Have each member of the team answer a question or you can set a time limit. Reward each team a gold, silver or bronze medal. The rewards can be extra credit points on the next quiz or test. The math problems can be made more complex for older students.
Set up five or six stations. Position one person from each team at a different station. There should be a representative from each team at a station. One station will be the starting line. At each station, place a math problem on a piece of paper, one copy for each team member at the table. It can be an addition, subtraction, multiplication or word problems. The questions should be different for each table. Keep the paper face down. Also, place a piece of paper and pencil for each player. Flip over the first problem. When the team member correctly answers the question she can run to the next station and tag her team member. That team member can flip over the problem and write the answer on the piece of paper. Once they get the correct answer they can tag the next player. Continue this until you have a first, second and third place winner.
Hand each person in your class a quiz. Set a timer for five minutes and let them work on the quiz. Grade the quizzes as a group. You may want students to exchange papers and use a red pen or pencil to correct the quizzes to avoid cheating. Add the quiz scores for each member of a team together. Their group score will determine who wins gold, silver or bronze. This is an activity you can use all year long with quizzes.
Take a Poll
As the winter or summer Olympics approach, ask students what events they want to watch. Write the events on the board and record the students' answers. Have your class get into their teams and give each team a few sheets of graph paper. The teams must draw bar, line and pie graphs using the numbers. Make sure they have all of the components of a graph such as a title, key and values. The teams must correctly finish the graphs and turn them into you. The first group to hand you the correct graphs wins the gold.