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February 2, 2014

Human rights and the Olympic Games part 2: Playing politics at the Olympic Games

Introduction

Use this lesson to teach students about the important role human rights and activism has played in the Olympics.

Subjects

History, English language arts, social justice, human rights

Estimated Time

One 60 minute class

Grade Level

Middle and high school

Materials

  • “Fists of Freedom: An Olympic Story Not Taught in School” informational text
  • “Glossary” informational text
  • Five Human Rights stories you probably didn’t know about” informational text 
  • “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” informational text
  • “Headlines” for group challenge
  • “The Olympic spirit” informational text
  • Written assessment

Homework

Read the informational text, “Fists of Freedom: An Olympic Story Not Taught in School,” as an introduction to the role of human rights and protests have played in the Olympic Games

Warm Up Activities

1. The legacy of Tommie Smith and John Carlos

To help students recall and process what they read the night before, ask students to keep the following questions in mind as they watch a clip from the film “Salute”, click here to watch:

  • What was the United States like in terms of civil rights equality during the 1960′s?
  • What did Smith and Carlos intend to accomplish by their actions?
  • Should athletes use their fame to promote political or civil rights causes?
2. Review from lesson 1

Pass out, Five Human Rights stories you probably didn’t know about,” by Amnesty International. Have students read and then identify which human rights were violated on page three.

What are the Olympics and what are human rights?

First, ask your students what they know about the Olympics and write their answers on the board. After 15 items, stop writing them and just make tally marks for each new answer.  When they run out, stop and count how many answers they were able to give. Then show students, “Beginner’s Guide to the Olympics”; once they are finished ask if they learned anything new.

“Beginner’s Guide to the Olympics” from the International Olympic Committee

Click here to watch it.

Main Activities

Have students read, “The Olympic spirit”, then briefly discuss what the “Olympic spirit” is and what the games are really supposed to be about. Then explain that despite the intentions of the creators of the game, this spirit is often tested or disrespected. They are now going to look at the Olympics through the lens of a human rights defender, and investigate when and where human rights have been violated.

1. Team Challenge

Please click here to use use this timeline for the following activity.

Divide students into six teams.

One at a time each group will pick an Olympic headline randomly from a hat (or whatever you have around). After the date has been chosen the teacher will scroll over to that date on the interactive timeline.

The group will read aloud the description to the class and as a class will watch the video or look at the image paired with the date.

After the video is over, the group will have two minutes to decide which human rights were violated and prepare to explain their answer to the class. They should write down their answers (# of the article) on a sheet of paper and get it to the teacher within the two minutes.

Once the time is up, the teacher will read off the answers and the group will need to explain to the class why they chose the rights they did. After their explanation, the class will vote “yes” if they agree or “no” if they disagree with the answer. If the class votes “yes”, they earn a point and can move on to the next article. If the class votes “no”, someone who voted no must explain why the answer is incorrect and the point will be given to that team. After the group has addressed all the articles violated, the next group will draw a date and go.

The group with the highest percentage of correct articles wins. For example, 5/6 =  83%, 2/3 = 66.667% and so on.

2. Individual Challenge

Students will choose two of the three following written components that they would like to write about in their assignment, they may choose from:

  • Informative - Describe what happened, what the context was and what human right(s) was/were violated. You may chose to briefly discuss more than one article that was violated or choose one and write about it in more depth.
  • Narrative - Imagine that you are at the Olympics(during the date of your choice) and write about your experience from both a person whose human rights were violated and the person who violated the human rights of others. Make sure to capture the emotions that you felt from both sides and your internal thought process that led you to be able to either violate the rights of others or feel that your rights have been violated.
  • Argument - Imagine that you are a human rights advocate and your job is to identify the alleged human rights violations that are occurring at the Sochi Olympic Games. After you have identified the violations, make an argument to the world about how things should be changed so no one’s rights are being infringed upon. Additionally, propose ways that both spectators and athletes can protest without being expelled from the games.
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  • The Materials You Need

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    Common Core Standards

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    Relevant National Standards:
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. [
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
    • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

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