Here are a couple of Olympic Math Events to try in your classroom.

  1. Try introducing this concept to students working to understand that each circle is 360°.

    Two-time Gold Medal Olympian Shaun White landed the best halfpipe run of his career at the U.S. Grand Prix of Snowmass. On the first jump he performed a 1440, on the second a 1080, on the third a 540, and a 1260 on his final jump. To the uninitiated the trick numbers may seem random but most math teachers will figure out quickly that they refer to the degree of rotation the board undergoes while airborne.

    *540 = 540° of rotation or 1 ½ times around
    * 720 = 720° of rotation or 2 times around
    * 1080 = 1080° or rotation or 3 times around
    * 1260 = 1260° or 3 ½ times around
    * 1620 = 1620° or 4 ½ times around

    Here are three challenges you may want to share. As preparation to the challenge remind students that when a snowboarder makes a half turn (180) the board is then backwards.

    CHALLENGE 1:  Shaun White will be trying for his third gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics. If one of his jumps is a triple how many degrees of rotation is that?

    CHALLENGE 2:  Jamie Anderson is the reigning Gold Medalist in the 2018 Women’s Winter Olympics Snowboard Slopestyle event. If she performs a 720 followed by a 540 and another 720.  What is the total number of revolutions in her jumps and is her board going backwards or forwards at the end of her run?

    CHALLENGE 3: 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist, Sage Kotsenburg, completed a run that consisted of a 270, 540, 180, 1260, 1080, 1620. What was the total number of revolutions Sage made and was his board backwards or forwards when he ended?

  1. Here is an Olympic Math Event appropriate for Grade 8 and up.

    If Maame Biney, the first African-American woman to be selected as a speed skater for the U.S. Olympic Team, competes in the 1,000; 1,500; and 10,000 meter events and puts in 6times as much distance practicing before the events. What total distance in kilometers will she have skated during the competition?

    Option: Break students into groups and ask them to solve the problem together. Time each group and post the times. Offer Gold, Silver and Bronze for the three fastest times.

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