Who doesn’t have an Olympic memory from childhood? For the two weeks of the Olympics’ lit torch, young and old are captivated by the sport of it all. The Olympics provide the opportunity to peek into countries that typically feel like worlds away.
Why learn about geography now?
The Olympics itself is a two-week geography lesson. Of course the Opening Ceremonies are filled with pomp and circumstance, but it so proudly displays the host country’s deep history. Invite your kids to watch it with you. The Opening Ceremonies are a feast for the eyes, as well as for young minds.
After the show is concludes, the “Parade of Nations” will take place. This is where athletes from each country process around the stadium. The “Parade of Nations” is rich in tradition and ritual. No matter where the Games are being held, the athletic delegation from Greece will always enter the Olympic stadium first, in honor of the country originating the spirit of the games thousands of years ago.
Each nation to follow will be announced in French, then in English, and lastly in the host nation’s language – this year in Korean. The office language of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is French, but the nations will march out in order of the Korean alphabet.
Each country designates a flag bearer to represent their nation, whether they have 9 or 99 athletes. For this Games’ Opening Ceremonies, the host nation of South Korea will be joined with North Korea under the Korean unification flag. Their delegation will be the last to parade around Pyeonchang Olympic Stadium.
Watching the Parade of Nations with your children offers up an organic teaching opportunity. Countries they have never heard of will have athletes that march, and now is the time to break out your globe (hopefully your Learning Resources Puzzle Globe) to figure out where everyone is from.
In previous broadcasts, the network now provides a graphic for where the country can be found, which does provide for a visual reference. Make post-its of the nations and place on your globe.
Things to ask your kids:
- For these Olympics, do the countries come from continents that are cold or warm?
- Which countries seem to have lots of athletes? Fewer?
- Do you think a country’s population is related to the number of athletes they send?
- Look closely at each country’s flag. Does it represent something about the nation?
Enjoy the two weeks with your kids. Watch as much as you can. Chances are good you yourself will learn new geography facts during these Winter Games!