Teachers Talk LawNow – Lesson Plan - The Olympics and Doping

Teachers Talk LawNow – The Olympics, Doping, and the Rights of Atheletes

LawNow magazine is an incredible resource for teachers. Each issue offers engaging articles about law in language suitable for students. Teachers Talk LawNow is a series of lesson plans for teachers based on these articles. 


LawNow Article from the July/August 2012 issue of LawNow magazine:

Which Passport Should I Take to the Olympic Games? – Hilary Findlay

The Athlete Biological Passport is a new and useful tool in the global anti-doping effort. The science is powerful. But we cannot ignore the legal aspects raised by this new anti-doping test. There is a delicate balance to be maintained between keeping competitive sport fair for all athletes and respecting the rights of individual athletes involved in sport.

Athletes that cheat ruin the spirit of competitive sports, but they also provide “teachable moments” for science teachers. Talking about doping in the Olympics is a stealthy way to teach biology to students.  This LawNow article discusses new anti-doping efforts at the London Olympics.  This is an excellent opportunity to teach about body systems, specifically the circulatory system and respiratory systems.


Circulatory and Respiratory Student Teaching

1. Divide your students into small groups. Assign the circulatory system to half of the groups and the respiratory system to the other half.

2. Students will research their system and prepare an interactive presentation for their classmates. This presentation should include

  • the role of the circulatory or the respiratory system in the body;
  • the parts of the system and their function; and
  • an explanation of blood doping and how it relates to their body system.

3. Pair the circulatory system groups with respiratory system groups and have students perform their presentations to each other.

4. At the end of the lesson hold a discussion about the legal and ethical implications of anti-doping testing for sports. Some conversation starters include:

  • Is a high probability of doping necessarily proof of unsportsmanlike behaviour? How could unproven speculation ruin an athlete’s career?
  • Runner Caster Semenya gender was questioned and she had to endure the public questioning her gender? Is this fair?
  • For some athletes this is their full time job. Would you consent to blood testing at your place of work?

Ryan Day
Ryan Day
Ryan Day is an experienced teacher and was the Youth Program Coordinator at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA). Ryan has developed educational materials for non-profits that work with at risk youth as well as curriculum matched resources for Alberta teachers.

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