London 2012 Olympics (Upper-Intermediate ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the Olympics lesson plan (ESL) here: London-Olympics-UppIntermediate-09082012.doc

London 2012 Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Upper-Intermediate

The Olympic rings in London

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Warm-up (Pair Work)

1) What do you know of the history of the Olympics?
2) What are your favorite memories of the Olympics?

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Events (Pair Work)

Situation: You are a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The committee has recently decided to reduce the number of events in the games.
Activity: With a partner, decide which events ought not be in the Olympics. Try to suggest at least three and provide reasons why they should be excluded. You can also suggest replacement events if you’d like.

London 2012 Olympics: Memorable Quotes (August 8th, 2012)

“Having been soundly beaten by Ariel since she was nine, I can certainly attest to her talent.”
Billionaire Bill Gates is humbled by Ariel Hsing, a 16-year-old US women’s table tennis player who refers to him as “Uncle Bill”.
“My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs. The Chinese people have clean hands.”
– Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen in response to doping suspicions raised after the 16-year-old set a world record.
“We work very hard, we train for up to 10 hours a day, in the pool, in the gym. I don’t want to reveal our secrets, but to be upside down for this length of time is no joke.”
– Synchronized swimmer Natalia Ishchenko defends her sport, which is often mocked for its fixed smiles, gelled hair, and tacky costumes.
“My mother used to tell us in the mornings, ‘Carl put on your shoes, Oscar you put on your prosthetic legs …So I grew up not really thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes.”
– South African runner Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed ‘Blade Runner’ because he races on carbon fiber prosthetic blades, talks about growing up playing sports with his brother Carl.
“I understand it because the Chinese always win, and maybe some people think this not good for table tennis. I don’t think so. We always win because we work much harder than the others.”
– Chinese table tennis coach Shi Zhihao gives his take on rules limiting each country to 2 players aimed at curbing China’s domination of the sport.
“‘Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’, which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village.”
– London Mayor Boris Johnson praises the “energy and enthusiasm” of the Games’ 10,000 athletes, to whom some 150,000 condoms have been distributed.
“Good evening, Mr. Bond.”
– Queen Elizabeth makes her film debut in a clip with James Bond star Daniel Craig shown as part of the quirky opening ceremony.

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
attest (verb)
humble sb (verb)
mock (verb)
sb’s take (noun)
curb (verb)
  • attest – certify; confirm
  • humble sb – make sb feel they are not as good/important as they thought
  • sensation a person or object that creates much interest and excitement
  • doping – the act of administering drugs to enhance athletic performance
  • mock – make fun of
  • tacky – showing poor taste
  • prosthetic – an artificial body part, such as a leg
  • sb’s take – a person’s view on something
  • curb – restrain or keep in check
  • motto – a short phrase that expresses the aims/beliefs of a person/group/etc
  • quirky – slightly strange; peculiar

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
attest / ability
athlete / humble
sensation / doping
mock / tacky
accident / prosthetic
take / Olympics
curb / drug use
motto / company
quirky / sense of humor

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Presentation Practice (Group Work)

You, a government representative, have been asked to submit a bid for the next Olympic games (winter of summer) to the IOC. With a partner, prepare a presentation on why your city, town, or region, would be the ideal host for the next Olympics.

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Debate (Pair Work)

SituationThe IOC has awarded your city the next Olympics.

Student A: You are a political activist. You are strongly against both the Olympics being held in your city and the Olympics themselves. Spend two minutes thinking of reasons why: 1) your city shouldn’t host the Olympics (and if you’d like to go further 2) why the Olympics should be canceled permanently). You will go first.

Student B: You are pro-Olympics. You are happy your city will host the next games. Spend 2 minutes thinking of reasons why the Olympics are a great event for humanity and your city. The other student (Student A) will go first.

Olympics Lesson Plan (ESL): Discussion Questions

1)     Do you envy Olympic athletes?
2)     Do you prefer the winter or summer Olympics? Why?
3)     Do the Olympics unite the world or divide it?
4)     Do you think your country should invest more into its athletic programs?

Olympics lesson plan (ESL) copyright Matthew Barton of

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