Originally published Feb. 24, 2018 in the York News-Times.

By Steph Peyatt, Features Editor

York Elementary School physical education teachers, Kim Brehm and Allison Snodgrass, recently created a Winter Olympics-themed unit for their students. They wanted to tie real-life events into what they teach in P.E. class.

By allowing students to experiment with the various events taking place in PyeongChang this winter, the 2018 Winter Olympics has become more relevant to them. Other teachers encouraged the unit by reading and researching about the Olympics as well. Elizabeth Kavan, YES media specialist, spent time showing videos and conducting research with students while they were in their media rotation.

Hayley Huston (left) and Kenzie Hale ride together on their pretend two-man bobsled during the YES Winter Olympics.York News-Times/Steph Peyatt

Brehm and Snodgrass made a bulletin board and handouts with QR codes that are linked to short videos which explain the events and scoring. Students have enjoyed taking these codes home and researching with their families. Fifth-grade students, who lead YES daily announcements, have been incorporating the daily medal count and Olympic trivia into their announcements as well.

“For us, personally, we both love watching the winter Olympics,” said Snodgrass, commenting on their reasons for the unit. “There’s also the fact that winter Olympic events are so unique to where we live in Nebraska; kids don’t have exposure to participating or watching them regularly.”

The school is hoping that by involving the 2018 Winter Olympics into the curriculum that students will be enthused to watch at home with their families and share their Olympic expertise. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the unit is fun, but also facilitates physical activity.

Events in this unit include speed skating, short track speed skating, slopestyle, curling, cross country, biathlon, bobsled, alpine skiing, snowboard, skeleton, hockey, ski jumping and luge. Students have had the opportunity to simulate these activities in P.E. class. Snodgrass and Brehm also included an Olympic torch relay as well.

“The students are really enjoying the unit,” reported Snodgrass. “Many parents say students come home excited to share about what they’ve done, or that they are anxiously awaiting their turn in the Olympic Stadium.”

After hearing all the feedback and excitement from students, staff, and parents, Brehm and Snodgrass decided to extend their unit an extra day.

The YES Winter Olympics is yet another example of all the creative and fun lengths YPS teachers go to educate their students.

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    Physical activity encouraged through Olympic theme
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    Physical activity encouraged through Olympic theme
    Physical education teachers at York Elementary School introduce Olympic-themed events to keep students engaged.
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