Opening the Olympic Games

Opening the Olympic Games
Laura Bush: Sports and Popular Culture

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: Two to three class periods


President and Mrs. George Bush accompanied the official U.S. delegation to the 2006 Winter U.S. Olympic team at the opening ceremonies and witnessed several events.  One of the most stirring parts of the Olympics is the Opening Ceremony, in which athletes from all over the world parade into the Olympic Stadium carrying their national flags and wearing their Olympic uniforms. 


Students will learn something about the history of the Olympics and the Olympic Opening Ceremony, as well as learn about the basic symbolism in the Olympic flag; students will also plan and create an Olympic ceremony.

Materials Required:

Computer with Internet access, paper, pen or pencil.  Construction paper, paint, paint brushes, poster board, tape, glue and other art supplies.


1.  Using the websites below, either have students research the information about the Olympic Games, or summarize the information and show them the images to explain the basis for the Olympic flag and Opening Ceremony.
2.  If available from the library, play a video of the Olympic games, emphasizing the opening ceremony, specifically the Winter 2006 games that Mrs. Laura Bush attended.
3.  Assemble students in small groups. Announce that an “Olympic Games” is going to be held at their school.  Ask each group to design an Olympic flag, using symbols they think represent their country, town, and school, on a piece of paper.
4.  When each group has completed its flag, look at its design.  Once approved, give students in each group a piece of poster board and other art materials so they can construct their flag.

5.  When flags are complete, hang them around the room.
6.  As the second phase of the lesson, have the same groups decide how they would organize and design their own Olympic games.  Ask them to answer questions such as:

  • Who would they invite? 
  • What would the invitation look like? 
  • What sports would be represented?
  • What theme would they use? 
  • What music should be played?
  • What would the stadium look like? 
  • What would the uniforms look like? 

7.  Each group should write the answers to these questions in the form of a proposal for the Games.
8.  Ask the class to vote for the best proposal.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson can be expanded by actually using the proposal as a guide for holding an Olympics in your school, complete with opening ceremony and events.

Sources & Resources:


Interview with Laura Bush at the 2006 Olympics

History of the Olympics

History of the Olympic Flag and Other Symbols

More on the Olympic Flag and Symbols

Official Website of the 2006 Winter Games


This lesson was developed by Marian Maxfield, Kent State University