Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Olympics as a Historical Tool

Most Americans are tuned to their televisions watching American's take on the world in London. The 2012 Summer Olympiad is an exciting tool that can be used to engage students in the relationship that the US has with the world.

As an opening I would discuss major happenings from the current Olympics. Examples of big medal victories, any acts of un-sportsmanship/ sportsmanship, and international politics. You could mention how First Lady Michelle Obama was America's representative to the games:

I would then open up a discussion on other famous Olympiads and America's connection to them. I would primarily focus on the 1936 German summer games. With the 1936 games I would make sure to draw the student's attention to the actions of Adolf Hitler and his dreams for an attempt to show Berlin off to the world.

In an almost "slap in the face" of Nazi Germany students would then learn about the great accomplishments of Jesse Owens, someone who the Nazis refused to treat as a desired human being.

Using current events is a great way to draw students into history. By connecting such a popular event like the Olympics to America's previous role in the world students will be able to understand the that America's connection to the world is not something new or something that will end any time soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment