Going for Gold or Quest for the Cup – classroom activities across the curriculum inspired by the Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth Games or major international sporting events

Whether it is the Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, Football World Cup, Tennis Masters or other high-profile international sporting events, major events such as these with high media coverage can capture the imagination of your pupils, and that interest can be harnessed in the classroom in any curricular area.

The following are links to resources which link major sporting events to the curriculum, or inspire classroom activity ideas.

Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games-inspired teaching resources

Chris Leach has collated a series of challenges for a class of pupils, each challenge being inspired or loosely based on individual events within the Olympic Games. Each activity is presented as a challenge which involves pupils in completing a task, the idea for which is inspried by an Olympic or Commonwealth Games sport but may be related to an area of the curriculum easily adaptable to be appropriate to the age and stage of the pupils.

Mandy Barrow has collated a range of activities and links to resources to support using the Olympic Games as a theme for classroom activities across the curriculum:

EssexLegacy is a series of resource sheets, with activities grouped by curricular area, providing a range of activities inspired by the Olympic Games for use in the primary classroom – Cross Curricular learning resources covering Art, Design & Technology, English, Geography, History, ICT, Mathematics, Modern foreign languages, Music, PE, PSHE, RE and Science.

Hampshire Council has resources and links to resources related to the Olympic and Paralympic Games which support classroom activities across the curriculum. These are grouped by age group, stage and by curricular area, and also include several links to further resources.

Wolfram|Alpha  is a computational search engine, meaning it will look for numerical information about a topic and present it in table form or graphical form. While you can ask it any question it already has an Olympic section with a series of often-asked questions (such as number of medals per country, or statistical information about participating countries) which can be browsed and displayed as well as further refined to ask just the question you or class wish to know.

NGfL Cymru has produced Olympic Maths – activities inspired by the Olympics grouped according to maths concepts and skills

CILT has a link to resources specifically highlighting languages activities inspired by the Olympic Games

Teacher Vision website has a huge variety of resources from book suggestions, weblinks, worksheets, quizzes, and activity plans – all themed to aspects of the Olympic Games.

Teacher news  – 10 resources for Olympic Lessons – is a collection of links to teaching resources themed on the Olympics collated and described by Mark Warner.

Larry Ferlazzo has collated a range of sites for learning about the Olympics

The nrich website has resources to support teaching mathematics through the Olympics theme.

The Times Educational Supplement has a bank of searchable resources from which Olympic-themed resources can be found.

Primary Games has a collection of online games themed to the Olympics for pupils to play.

BBC Sport website has brought together a series of materials for use in school assemblies, each with videos, scripts, discussion material, all with thought-provoking themes inspired by variousaspects of the Olympic Games.

CAFOD has also created Olympics-inspired resources for prompting discussion and reflection in the classroom about a whole series of global issues, through Olympic-themed games and activities.

Education Scotland’s “Games Legacy for Scotland” blog provides news, resources and links to supporting schools using the stimulus of the Commonwealth, Olympic or Paralympic Games across the curriculum.

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Education Resources

The British Council “Warm Up to the Games” is a series of resources and links  supporting using Olympic, Paralympic, Commonwealth Games or other international sporting events to connect classrooms worldwide to develop global citizenship.

The Learn English site from the British Council has a series of literacy-based interactive activities based on the Olympics. These include videos, diagrams, worksheets and interactive on-screen vocabulary games, all with the theme of the Olympic Games.

Olympic Games Resources collected by Kerri Cicolani – provides a wealth of resources about the history of the Olympic Games, the countries, the sports, Ancient Greece and links to the sites where Olympic Games have been hosted.

Jackie Schneider has created a blog where primary pupils have created songs based on the Olympics, shared them on the blog and invited comment.

Musical Futures: Non Formal Composing Project inspired by The Olympics! – a project that uses the experiences of Olympic bronze medal winner Tasha Danvers and the Olympic and Paralympic values of respect, excellence, friendship, courage, determination, equality, inspiration to create a unique musical composition using Non-Formal Approaches – detailed lesson plans are provided for non-specialist teachers to carry this out with their own class of pupils.

Scientists in Sport is a series of teaching resources (teaching notes and pupil activity guides) for activities which involve pupils in the science behind taking part in sports – whether nutrition, assessing fitness, substances. These are aimed at pupils of 11-14 but can be adapted for other ages.

Teaching Ideas: Olympics provides a wide range of resources including lesson ideas, games, visual display material and more all on the theme of the Olympics.

Display resources for sports in general, as well as specific sporting events including Olympics, Paralympics, Football, Rugby.

Commonwealth Games Resources from Kerri Cicolani – provides a wealth of resources about the history of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Games, the countries of the Commonwealth and links to the sites where Commonwealth Games have been hosted.

Football World Cup/International Events

Sunderland International Education links has a host of resources matched to different curricular areas inspired by the FIFA World Cup.

Primary Resources provides a host of footbal-themed resources shared by teachers for use in various curricular area.

Footee, is a free football themed educational site where pupils can play games, explore new worlds and build their own Footee team from over 1,200 real life players, while working on curricular-related activities.

The Times Educational Supplement has a searchable facility for teaching resources on any topic including the Football World Cup.

Teaching Ideas Football-themed classroom ideas are activities and resources shared by many teachers with a theme of football events.

FIFA, the world organising body of football, has a site which provides up to date statistics and information about countries, teams and players participating in World Cup events.

Financial Soccer is a simulated football game where players advance moves or score goals by correctly answering questions related to Financial Literacy – this resources is specifically aimed at schools with resources to teaching about financial literacy and is a games-based learning approach to the topic with a wealth of supporting materials aimed at different age groups and levels of understanding.

Premier Skills English takes the theme of football and has a wealth of literacy excercises built around that theme. These have details of individual football clubs with online quizzes and vocabulary activities for each.  The aim of this site from the British Council is to help teachers use the global popularity of football to help pupils learn English. There are resources, activities, full lesson plans and worksheets, longer projects and an encyclopedia of information about players.

Schools Fantasy League Football brings together the fantasy league gaming-style, familiar to many pupils, with data handling, and matches the activities to the curriculum while the pupils have the fun of the game while engagaing with the task.

Euro Championships from The Guardian Teacher Network – resources to support using the football Euro Championships as the theme for learning across the curriculum in the classroom.


Primary Resources Rugby-themed resources are collected plans, resources, activities and ideas themed to the Rugby World Cup.


Teaching on the Tennis Theme – resources on the Guardian Teacher Network collated and described  by Emily Drabble. So whether it is Wimbledon or other high-profile tennis tournaments there are resources here to use the theme of tennis to help engage pupils in learning across the curriculum.

So whether it is the Olympics, Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, Football World Cup, Tennis Tournaments or other high-profile international sporting events, the above might provide the inspiration to adapt lesson activities in any curricular area to harness the enthusiasm of pupils for a topical event. And of course many of the activities above shown for one international sporting event can be adapted to another, where the international sporting event, and all of the high-profile media coverage, are providing the hook onto which to hang the learning which goes on in the classroom.


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