Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exploring the Boston Marathon in the Montessori Classroom with Curriculum Activities

NAMC montessori classroom curriculum activities boston marathon
Did you know that the Boston Marathon is the oldest annual marathon in the world? Every year the city of Boston hosts the event on Patriots’ Day, which is the third Monday of April. This year the marathon will take place on April 18. Tens of thousands of runners, both amateur and professional, flock to the New England city to participate in the road race which happens to be one of the five World Marathon Majors.

Why not use this current event as a springboard to math, history, and geography activities in your Montessori classroom? There’s plenty of information that can be explored in detail, whatever the student’s particular area of interest.

For example, the first Boston Marathon was held in commemoration of the fabled run from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, by the Greek soldier and messenger, Pheidippides. A study of this event can lead to further exploration of the origin of the word marathon, and how the concept has evolved into a global competitive sport.

Exploring the Boston Marathon in the Montessori Classroom with Curriculum Activities

Questions for your students:
  • How long is a marathon? 
  • What is its measurement in feet, miles, meters and kilometers?
Activity for your students: 
  • Ask your students to map a marathon route of their choice in your town using a map.
Boston and U.S. History
Questions for your students:
  • What important events in U.S. history have taken place in Boston? 
  • When was Boston founded? 
  • What are some interesting historical facts about Boston? 
  • What is Patriots’ Day?
Activities for your students: 
  • Create a timeline of Boston’s history. 
  • Create a game show for other classmates about Boston’s history. 
  • Explore the history of Patriot’s Day
Marathon History
Activities for your students:
  • Research a past participant of the Boston Marathon and share their special story with classmates. For example, Dick and Rick Royt, a father and son team that raced together despite Rick’s cerebral palsy. Students might also be interested in the scandal of Rosie Ruiz in 1980, or the death of Cynthia Lucero in 2002.
  • Discuss the inspiration for the Boston Marathon (the 1896 Summer Olympics) and when the marathon began (1897).
Activities for your students:
  • Students can locate and research the five cities of the World Marathon Majors (Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and New York City). Students can compare and contrast the climates, languages, animals, etc. of each of the five cities.
  • Using clay, paper, and other materials, students can create a topographical map or diorama of the race course in Boston, including notable Boston locations such as Copley Square and Heartbreak Hill.
Related web information:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Tuesday, April 12, 2011.


  1. What a fun set of ideas! Another participant worth researching would be Johnny Kelley.

  2. Thank you for the great suggestion! We have added a link to information about Johnny Kelley.


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