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Chinese number 4.

Olympic Games messages through Fuwa

Level 4 Achievement objective, B4

S tudents will experience ways in which cultural and social practices are expressed through the ritual of movement, demonstrate understanding of this, and learn skills associated with a range of cultural activities.

Learning objective

Students will:

  • demonstrate characteristics of Olympism through the design and delivery of related-movement context, ie game or movement activity.

Olympic taonga for this lesson:

  • Beijing
  • Fuwa (friendlies)

Activity 1 –‘World Wind’

Discuss the answer to the Chinese whisper which indicates the origin for today’s lesson. Class will travel in time to Beijing. Identify where in the world Beijing is in relation to both Athens and Olympia (our previous locations). As a class, decide on the number of laps around the field that would equate to an imaginary journey between Athens and Beijing. Each group must travel the designated laps as a team (‘World Wind’) to the new destination.

Activity 2 – Fuwa

Teacher reads the following information on Fuwa:

Like the five Olympic Rings from which they draw their color and inspiration, Fuwa will serve as the Official Mascots of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, carrying a message of friendship and peace – and good wishes from China – to children all over the world.

Designed to express the playful qualities of five little children who form an intimate circle of friends, Fuwa also embody the natural characteristics of four of China's most popular animals – the Fish, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow – and the Olympic Flame.

Each of Fuwa has a rhyming two-syllable name – a traditional way of expressing affection for children in China. Beibei is the Fish, Jingjing is the Panda, Huanhuan is the Olympic Flame, Yingying is the Tibetan Antelope and Nini is the Swallow.

When you put their names together – Bei Jing Huan Ying Ni – they say "Welcome to Beijing," offering a warm invitation that reflects the mission of Fuwa as young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Fuwa also embody both the landscape and the dreams and aspirations of people from every part of the vast country of China. In their origins and their headpieces, you can see the five elements of nature – the sea, forest, fire, earth and sky – all stylistically rendered in ways that represent the deep traditional influences of Chinese folk art and ornamentation.

Spreading traditional Chinese good wishes wherever they go

(from The Official Mascots of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing 2008 website)

Download the Fuwa information cards (Appendix 1) and give each group the card related to their group colour. Students read the information card and design a game or movement activity that represents:

  • movement strength of their character
  • character of the Fuwa – spirit/ideals of the Fuwa.

Prepare the activity for the class by:

  • organising the equipment
  • outlining instructions
  • designing some questions that get students to think about the Olympic Ideals associated with the character of the Fuwa represented in the game/activity
  • ensuring classmates participate in your game/movement activity in the spirit of your Fuwa.

Each group has five minutes to run their game/movement activity for the class.

Key questions

  • Why are mascots used?
  • What are the key messages the Fuwa represent?
  • How are these messages similar to Olympism?
  • Which Fuwa best represents your personality? (could be a combination of Fuwa)
  • What are some of the things the Fuwa teach you?

Extension – Students to find out about Olympic Games mascots of the past and whether these mascots have always represented similar messages.

Truce time:
Discuss relevant information from this session. Each team is required to ask a question of the class.

Deliver Chinese whisper:
“Beijing beckons, students busy learning, ‘We are Ready’…”

This could be researched for homework in preparation for the journey to follow. For example: Where is Beijing? What’s going on in Beijing? How are the students in China learning about the Olympic Games and Olympic Ideals? How are the Fuwa represented in the learning around the Olympic Games and Olympic Ideals?

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