The Olympics: Math Puzzles and a Game

[Photo by striatic.]

Maybe it’s because school is out for the summer, but there don’t seem to be all that many Olympics-related math resources on the Web. I did find one cool game, however, and a nice stack of word problems. I hope you enjoy them!

Update: Be sure to see my blog post Olympic Logic for more links and puzzles!

Olympics Math in the “News”

Report: Olympics Mathematically Likely To Happen This Year
Satire from The Onion. [Hat tip: Michael Lugo at God Plays Dice.]

Playing Around with Math

Math Playground Olympics Game
“Answer 20 multiple choice questions correctly to win the Math Olympics. Topics range from basic computation and general math knowledge to word problems with percentages, ratios, and fractions.” (Grades 4+.)

Olympics Word Problems

Summer 2008 Olympics Theme Unit
Many varied resources for the members of Even as a non-member, I was able to get several sample worksheets of word problems:

MathCounts Olympic Problems of the Week

Problems about past Summer Olympics, from the MathCounts archive, for grades 6+:

  • Five Rings: The Olympics Begin
  • Two Weeks in the Village: The Olympics Continue
  • One Last Time: The Last Week of the Olympics
  • The Olympics Aren’t Cheap
  • Catching Olympic Fever
  • Olympic Dreams Coming True
  • Olympic Shot Put Math
  • In The News…
  • The Ever-Changing Olympics
  • The Water Cube

[Update, April 2011: MathCounts redesigned their website, making it impossible to link to all these wonderful, old Problems of the Week. What a shame!]

Hold Your Own Summer Olympics

A Measure of Greatness
“Elementary students participate in a number of Olympic-type activities, such as a cotton ball shot put, paper plate discus throw, high arm jump, straw javelin throw, and sponge squeeze, as they practice measurement skills.”

Math Research Activities

Olympic Records Through Time
“Are we faster, stronger, better than we used to be? Compare the records of gold medal Olympic winners for the last 100 years and decide.” (Graphing.)

Olympic Math Idea
Questions to prompt research into the correlation of population and economic numbers with each country’s medal count.

Thematic Units – The Summer Olympics
Lots of links that may be useful if you try one of the research projects above.

Edited to Add

Printables 4 Kids offers a few Olympics Medal Count worksheets here.

And +plus magazine tackles the question of predicting Olympic medal counts in Harder, better, faster, stronger.

Whatever you do, be sure to finish out the day by serving the Olympic dessert of champions!

6 thoughts on “The Olympics: Math Puzzles and a Game

  1. Hello. I wanted to comment on the Logic number of medals won problem.
    If China won the most medals – 8
    If China won either 5 or 10 Bronze
    The country who won 8 gold also won 8 silver – China
    China won a total of 24 medals
    8+8=16 16+5=21 16+10=26
    No matter which way you ad it up, it just don’t ad up?!? I’m confused

    1. You’re right, I think the sample must have some typos in it. I wonder if their server has developed a glitch over the years since this was first published. Since I don’t have an edhelper account, I can’t print out one of their generated worksheets to check if they make sense.

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