Inclusion, Determination, and Grit: Teaching Students Important Lessons from the Paralympic Games

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*Swing recommends that substitute teachers get all outside teaching resources approved by the school prior to sharing with students.

The Paralympic Games, which are held every four years and kick off on August 24th in Tokyo, are a longstanding multi-sport event for athletes with physical, mental, and sensorial disabilities. The first Paralympic Games took place in Rome in 1960 and featured the talents of 400 athletes from 23 countries.

Now, during the upcoming two-week event, approximately 4,400 athletes from across the world will be competing for a total of 539 gold medals. Every athlete competing in the Paralympic Games – or who has competed previously – has certainly overcome challenges to be the best in their chosen sport, demonstrating determination, perseverance, and dedication – all of which are great traits to teach to students.

To help students learn more about these character traits, as well as about the importance of inclusion and the history and significance of the Paralympic Games, check out some of the teaching resources below.

Multi-Grade Levels

International Paralympic Committee. One great option for free teacher resources comes directly from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Its website offers educational kits containing a set of classroom activities, discussion questions, and background information on different facets of the Paralympic Games. The free-to-download activities can be used to educate students about Paralympic sports, respecting and accepting individual differences, sport as a human right, and more.

The IPC also has an extensive library of videos highlighting various sports, notable athletes, and the history of the Paralympic Games that can be shared with students during classroom instruction. Here are few videos specific to the upcoming Games: 

Grades K-4

I’mPOSSIBLE. I’mPOSSIBLE is the IPC’s official global education program designed to help students ages 6-18 engage with the Paralympic values, Para sports, and the vision of the Paralympic Movement for a more inclusive world through Para sports.

The website features free lesson samples, such as Let’s play the Para sport of sitting volleyball and The Paralympic values, designed specifically for 6-8 year olds.

Teachers Pay Teachers. The popular site for teacher lessons offers a number of free resources and printable documents to use to teach about the Paralympics. This includes free coloring sheets, as well as a number identification activity for students in K-3.

Grades 5-8

My Way to Olympia. In this lesson for grades 5-8, students are able to explore the “meaning and essence of athleticism as they examine various ‘Olympics’ for athletes with a range of physical abilities.” The lesson is paired with video clips from Niko von Glasow’s My Way to Olympia film which looks at individuals who have competed in the Paralympic Games. Teachers can access a downloadable lesson, homework assignments, and extension activities.

I’mPOSSIBLE. IPC’s education site also features select lesson samples for 9-12 year olds, such as The Paralympic values, as well as informational videos.

Additional Resources

In addition to the resources listed above, below are a few videos and documentaries highlighting the Paralympic Games.

Have more resources to share, favorite lessons to suggest, or other recommendations to contribute? Let us know!

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