Math Hurdles

Summer Olympics in Tokyo kick off on July 23, 2021 and demonstrate the efforts of incredible athletes in their sport.  But, guess what?  The Olympics relies on math to determine the winners.  How would you know which athlete was the fastest?  Who threw the farthest?  Who scored the most?  Who broke a world record?  Math is everywhere in the Olympic Games, and they offer a perfect opportunity to sharpen a child’s math skills this summer.

It’s a numbers game.

Using the Olympics as a theme for fun math games is a great way to enjoy the watching the Olympic games and strengthen math readiness for the year ahead at the same time.  The athletic performances are inspirational and they are all measured through math, making them fun math moments to share with your kids.  When you consider the sheer number of hours an athlete like Usain Bolt had to train to compete to shatter the world record in the 100-meter race in just 9.58 seconds, it’s easy to see why math and the Olympic Games go together like addition and subtraction.

Prepping for the big Games.

You can begin the Olympic math fun before the Games begin.  Have fun with your children by looking up fun facts on this summer’s Olympics.  How many countries are competing?  (206).  How many sports will they be competing in?  (339 events in 33 different sports).  How many sports are new to this summer’s Olympic Games?  (5 — baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding).  Which country sends the most athletes? (The United States is sending 628 athletes). Bringing math to life by sharing the examples of the Olympics is a fun way to bring teachable moments to your children.

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Earn a gold medal in problem solving.

There are many ways to use math skills during the Olympics.  Here are a few ideas to get your children’s young minds churning:

Lesson 1: List five sports that are based on best times.  Look up the Olympic and World Records for all 5 sports.  Follow one sport and see if any new records are made during the 2021 summer games.  This can include sports such as swimming, cycling, rowing, sailing, and triathlon.

Lesson 2:  Have your children select three countries and follow them during the entire games, keeping track of their medal counts.  For older students, graphing the success of gold, silver and bronze medals is a golden opportunity to strengthen their analysis skills.

Lesson 3:  There are multiple sports that rely on scores like soccer.  Follow one team through the entire Olympics and see their total score.  As an example, how many goals does Team USA get in total in all of their games?

Enjoy all of the excitement of the Summer Olympic Games with your kids and view all of the math moments on the official site

These Olympic Games are a fun way to spend time together while you help prevent the summer slide so many children encounter while out of a formal learning environment. Tampa-based Fun Wise® Math offers a variety of fun math programs that can be customized to help further stop that slide, from online tutoring and programs nationwide to on-site, in-person math tutoring in the Tampa area. To learn more, visit