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Robin Pizzo, WKAR director of education, responds to frequently asked questions from parents and educators

Q: Can you provide lesson ideas connected to the Olympics?

A: What great memories the Olympics create for both the audience and the athlete. There is nothing quite like the adrenaline pumping our collective hearts faster when a sprinter crosses the finish line or a gymnast flips across the balance beam. The Olympics offer thousands of lessons, but some of the most significant are perseverance, hard work, managing disappointment, and patience. And what better time to prepare than while the summer Olympics are occurring, July 23 through August 8.

Becoming an Olympian is no easy feat. The athletes train for years and years to perform a task that may take a matter of seconds. This takes a lot of perseverance and diligence. The Olympics occur every four years forcing athletes to be patient while waiting for competition. Gold, silver and bronze medals are the only medals given in each game or sport, which means athletes placing below the top three won’t receive a medal despite all the hard work. This leads to much disappointment. Lessons on managing disappointment are relatable and necessary for every child to mature.  

Finally, when planning lessons focusing on the Olympics, don’t forget to include an all-time favorite Olympic experience, the Paralympics and Special Olympics. A discussion defining the purpose and history of the two is an excellent teaching moment. Both PBSLearning Media and PBS KIDS have multimedia content to support these lessons and I’d invite you to take a look. 

Happy Learning, 

Mrs. Pizzo

Robin Pizzo leads the education outreach efforts of WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University, the PBS and NPR affiliate serving Michigan's capital region. Robin convenes partnerships and coordinates station initiatives such as WKAR Family and Ready to Learn to bring workshops, learning tools, and other resources into the community to help kids be resilient, lifelong learners.
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