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### Engage Students in Math with the 2012 Summer Olympics

As we approach the end of the school year, it is difficult not to worry about the “summer slump,” that decline in students’ academic skills and knowledge over the summer break.  Summer reading is an easy solution to help students maintain their literacy skills.  But what about their math skills?

The 2012 summer Olympic Games presents a wonderful opportunity to keep students at every grade level engaged in math over the summer break.  Here are a few ideas:

• Ask students to keep track of their favorite athletes.  For example, students can compare their favorite athlete’s performance during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing to his/her performance in the 2012 Olympic Games.  Does the athlete’s performance improve or decline?  By how many points, seconds, etc.?
• Have students keep track of the numbers and types of medals earned by certain countries participating in the 2012 Olympic Games.  They can then compare this medal count to those earned in 2008.
• Suggest that students keep track of new world records.  How do they compare to previous records?
• Ask students to investigate more general knowledge of the 2012 Olympics.  How many countries are participating in the current Olympic Games?  How does this number compare to 2008, 2004, etc.?  Which countries send the most athletes?
• Consider stories such as the economic impacts of the Games.  How much do countries and companies spend to sponsor the Games and field Olympic teams?  How does this huge event affect neighborhoods – residents and local businesses – in the host country?  What about media companies, construction firms, private security businesses, clothing makers, hotel chains, and, of course, the athletes themselves?  What are the costs and revenues for the country’s public treasury?  Who benefits and who loses?

Students can use Create A Graph, a free Web-based resource provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, to form visual representations of these mathematical queries.

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The Math Hub is a place for  sharing  expertise on math education and the use of adaptive technology to increase student achievement. We invite you to enhance our conversation by submitting your own comments.

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