The Seventh-Grade Olympiad

The seventh-grade teachers write on a recent interdisciplinary study, during which students took to their courses with the Olympics in mind.

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While the sixth-graders were at KEEP and the eighth-graders participated in Lake Sai or Tokyo Culture Days, seventh-grade students had the entire building to themselves! What an opportunity for some interdisciplinary study—not to mention the chance to make as much noise as we liked without disturbing anyone else!

With the 2020 Olympics inbound, students set out to solve problems as old as, well, the Olympics!

Greece is the home of the Olympics, so students learned how ancient Greece laid the foundation for many modern aspects of society. They participated in a cross-cultural simulation activity to help them think about possible interactions in the Olympic village and then created catapults from popsicle sticks to support their unit on energy transformations. In art, our seventh-graders went on to create original logos for the Olympics and used styrofoam printmaking techniques to create a set of colorful prints. Students also participated in a multitude of different relay events.

Applying knowledge from several different disciplines, students continued with some spatial problems. Your favorite event in the Summer Olympics is gymnastics, but your parents’ favorite event is equestrian sports and your sibling’s favorite is track and field. What if those are on the same day? Can you get to all of those venues? First you need to know where they are, so students applied their understanding of scale factor to calculate the distances on a map, and then used Google Earth to create a map of those venues.

Through all this and more, the Olympiad theme helped us achieve our objectives of working in small groups collaborating, inquiring and building an identity as a grade 7 team.