Shibuya children learn about Olympic sports through math

Jiji Press

A copy of a math workbook featuring sports for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics is trying a unique approach of combining mathematics and sports in promoting the quadrennial event to children.

This month, public elementary schools in Shibuya Ward started to use a supplementary math workbook for sixth-graders, which was created by the committee.

It allows students to learn about the 33 sports for the Tokyo Olympics by resolving math questions, according to the committee.

In one section, for example, Shinji Takahira and Naoki Tsukahara, bronze medalists in the men’s 4x100 meter relay in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, appear with the question “1964+X=2020,” asking how many years it will be since the previous 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when the 2020 Games are held.

In an event related to the workbook on Thursday, Takahira and Tsukahara visited Yoyogi Sanya Elementary School in the ward to help students learn how to calculate speed. Students each ran a 50-meter dash and calculated their speeds per second. The three fastest students then competed against the Takahira-Tsukahara team in a relay race.

“I don’t like math, but I think I can learn it better with the Olympics, which I like,” Shuntaro Hatano, one of the students at the school, said.

Takahira said he did not like mathematics, either. “I might have studied harder if I’d been able to enjoy learning like this,” he said, adding that he hopes the students will be stimulated to take more interest in the Olympics and Paralympics.

Haruka Amano, an official of the organizing committee who planned the workbook, said, “Mathematics and sports go well together.”

The organizing committee aims for wider use of the materials at elementary schools across Tokyo and plans to hold events involving such sports as table tennis and swimming, according to Amano.Speech

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