Combining the Olympics with biology is a great way to get your students interested in and excited about studying human anatomy and physiology! Instead of just watching the Olympics and being amazed by the extraordinary athletes you see competing, have fun with your students discussing the characteristics of Olympic athletes, why our bodies work the way they do, and how each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
Don’t miss our other articles about the Olympics:
A fun way to do this is by choosing a few Olympic sports your family enjoys and thinking about what particular characteristics the athletes who compete in those sports need to have. All Olympic athletes need strong bones and muscles, healthy nervous systems and immune systems, and even good sleep habits and healthy eating habits (at least most of the time!). So take some time to learn how and why those body systems and their daily choices affect their ability to perform in the Olympics.
Also, it’s easy for us to see that Olympic athletes have lots of different body shapes, types, heights, weights, and strengths. Why not tie this discussion in with a conversation about having a healthy body image?
It would also be easy to discuss character building. Talk with your students about not only the physical characteristics needed for becoming an Olympic athlete, but also discuss good character traits such as willingness to work hard, determination, perseverance, patience, and willingness to make good choices now in order to benefit from them later.
My daughter and I are enjoying watching the Olympics and studying anatomy and physiology, and we’re using Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology as our main reference book for our study. We won’t be finished when the Olympics are over, so we’ll continue through the school year and will probably watch clips of the Olympics on the internet as we continue our studies. We’re also using the Notebooking Journal that goes along with the textbook. The journal isn’t necessary, but it adds some variety and fun to our studies, and we love it! (There’s also a Junior Notebooking Journal avaialable for younger students.)
We’re also using this free printable that I created just for this study. I’m sharing it here in case you’d like to use it too!
Here’s how we’re using this printable and the Apologia curriculum (textbook and notebooking journal) for our study. We hope you enjoy your study as much as we’re enjoying ours!
- First, we brainstormed and thought about physical characteristics we thought might be good for a person who participates in a particular sport. (We chose gymnastics for our first sport. We decided that it might be an advantage for gymnasts to be short since we noticed that so many gymnasts are shorter than average.)
- Then we looked up information on the internet to see what information we could find on the topic. We read the articles and decided if the information we found supported or refuted our ideas. (We found information about gymnasts tending to be shorter than average, but we also discovered in those articles that it may actually be because of the gymnasts’ training that they end up being shorter than average.)
- We read a chapter in the textbook that corresponded with the characteristic we chose. (We read Lesson 14: Growth and Development because we thought it had the most to do with our topic about why gymnasts are usually short.)
- We noted (on page 2 of the printable) 3 important things we learned about one of the body systems we had just studied. (For example, we read about how genetic factors affect a person’s height, and we learned that a monk named Gregor Mendel discovered how dominant and recessive genes work.)
- Next we did a few activities from the Notebooking Journal. The activities we did went with Lesson 14. I’ve pictured above and below, though, some pictures of several Notebooking Journal activities we did from various chapters to give you an idea of some of the kinds of activities that are included.
- After that, we thought about (and wrote down on page 3 of the printable) some of the things we would have to do differently if we wanted to train to compete in this sport.
- And finally, we looked up information about an athlete my daughter is interested in and who represents the USA this year in our chosen sport. We learned about the training she received as she grew up, and we learned more about her as a person. Then we discussed how we could develop in ourselves some of the positive characteristics she possesses.
We hope you enjoy the Olympics and your study of Human Anatomy and Physiology with Apologia’s curriculum and this free printable. And if you’d like to take your study even farther, below are a few additional resources you might enjoy.