Expect More Arizona sent over six ways to add some fun and an educational dimension to the 2012 Summer Olympics. We’ve added a few of our own tips and ideas to challenge everyone in the family.
1) Learn about athletes from different countries. Pick a country and locate it on a map, find out what language is spoken and what kind of food is popular. Ask your child to draw a picture of the country’s flag.
2) Calculate the difference between the first and second place winners in swimming or track and field events.
RAK Tip: Do this without calculators to help kids get used to lining up numbers around the decimal point to keep place value accurate. Ask your child to read the resulting number. Given the razor thin margins between the winners it’s good practice in reading decimals. A number like .13 should be read as “13 hundredths,” not “point one three.”
3) Keep track of the number of medals the United States wins. Calculate the percentages of each — bronze, silver and gold — and draw a pie chart with each type of medal represented.
4) Watch the long jump competition and use a tape measure to see how long the gold medal winner jumped. Then measure your pet (or other household item) and see how many pets it would take to reach that measurement.
RAK Tip: Measure out the length and see how many of your own jumps it takes to equal that one Olympic jump.
5) Choose an athlete to follow and write a biography of him or her. Explore things like: Where did he grow up? When did she start competing? How many Olympics has he been in? How many medals has she won?
RAK Tip: Find the athlete’s blog, website or Twitter feed to follow the training regimen. How many hours a day does he or she train?
6) Prepare a weather chart for London each day of the games. Calculate the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit, compare the temperatures between Arizona and London, compare average rainfall and number of sunny days each year.
RAK Advanced Math Bonus Challenge: How fast did they run/walk/cycle/swim? Using the times of the various races, calculate average speed in kilometers per hour. Find speed by dividing the distance by the time (speed = distance ÷ time).
Hints: Convert the number of minutes into fractional hours to get kilometers per hour. Example: 20 minutes is .33 hours. For really short, fast races, take the time in seconds and divide by 60, and then divide that by 60 to get the decimal value for hours. To find the distance in kilometers for races less than a kilometer long, divide by 1,000. Google “convert kph to mph” and a converter will pop up to find the speed in miles per hour.
RAK Ultra-advanced Math Bonus Challenge: Find the measurement for the acceleration of a falling body, to calculate precisely how long it takes a diver to hit the water from the 10-meter platform.
RAK Einstein: What are the variables in finding the answer for the question above?