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Kansas Kaleidoscope - August/September 2008

Real People. Real Stories. For kids!

Follow Christian Smith's experience in Beijing through his blog and in an interview!

Kansas Kaleidoscope, August/September 2008 Celebrating the Olympic Games

August marked the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics! More than 10,000 athletes and millions of sports fans from around the world gathered in Beijing, China, to compete in the largest international sporting event in the world.

For Parents and Teachers:

Today’s Olympics are covered in all forms of media. This provides a great opportunity to use these events as a teaching tool. From ancient Greece to Beijing, the Olympics can help students gain an understanding of world history and geography. This issue addresses the sixth grade geography standard: Benchmark 2, Indicator 2, where students describe the significant contributions of ancient Greece to western culture. We have also included lessons to meet the reading standard for fourth grade: Benchmark 4, Indicator 10, students identify the topic, main ideas, and supporting details in appropriate level texts.

Map of modern day GreeceCountdown to Statehood

In a letter dated July 21, 1858, Thomas Webb, secretary of the New England Emigrant Aid Company, wrote to Isaac Goodnow in Kansas Territory. Webb said that he approved the creation of a college in Manhattan, Kansas Territory, not knowing of a “more beautiful and eligible spot than the one selected.”

Ancient Olympic Games

Records tell us that the original Olympic Games began in 776 BC. The Games were held in Olympia, Greece. The Olympia stadium could hold 40,000 people.

Return of an Ancient Tradition

History often repeats itself and this is true of the Olympics. People began to think about reviving the ancient Olympics in the mid-1800s.

Map of ChinaOlympics = Traditions

The Olympics have a long history and many traditions have become a part of the Games. Traditions are practices that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Kansas Gold

The modern Olympics have been around for 112 years. Many Kansas men and women have competed. But only a handful of athletes with Kansas connections have won gold medals.

Young Christian SmithA Kansan Goes to Beijing

Do you ever dream of someday competing in the Olympics? That dream has come true for Kansan Christian Smith. Christian recently took third place in the 800 meter race at the Olympic Trials in Oregon.

The 1936 “Nazi Olympics”

In 1936 Adolf Hitler was chancellor of Germany. He had quickly changed the country from a democracy to a dictatorship. A democracy is a form of government where people have certain freedoms and rights and are allowed to vote on issues.

History Lab

This year Kansas Kaleidoscope asked fourth graders from Topeka to help with History Lab. Their assignment was to visit our website, kansasmemory.org, and use primary sources to write a story related to our topic.


Olympic runner

In This Issue:

  • Trees are Terrific
  • Countdown to Statehood
  • On the Cover
  • For Parents and Teachers
  • Have You Thanked a Tree Lately?
  • How Much Do We Depend on Trees?
  • Got Trees?
  • Visit History
  • The Kansas State Tree
  • The Capitol Cottonwood Mystery
  • What is Brown and Green and Named "Orange?"
  • More Famous Kansas Trees
  • A Slice of Time
  • History Lab
  • Terrific Trees Word Search
  • Happy Arbor Day
  • Kaleidoscope Challenge
  • Answers
  • Bee a Winner!
  • Book Nook

Teacher Supplement