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The Story Behind Team USA’s Uniforms

Now that the super hype over the Super Bowl is done, let’s turn our attention to the Olympics. I love the Olympics.  I love every sappy behind the athlete story.  I love those amazing moments – wins and losses – no broadcaster can predict.  And gosh, the medal ceremonies get me every time.

So, needless to say, I’m pumped for the Winter Games, and very excited that this year the uniforms Team USA will wear during the opening ceremonies have been made in America, right down to the raw fiber beginning. 

You may recall the last Olympics and the scandal that erupted when folks discovered that Team USA was sporting nothing USA at all. Ugh! This year Ralph Lauren, official Olympic uniform designer, pledged to do better and sourced everything from the raw materials to the processing to the handiwork here in the States.  Watch this video for the full story:

Then . . . this story came across my facebook newsfeed: “How a sheep farm that started as a 4-H project sourced wool to Ralph Lauren for closing ceremony athlete sweaters.

What’s more American than fireworks and cherry pie on the 4th of July?!  4-H! What a terrific endorsement for such a great life development program.

Once in awhile current events will converge and make for a really great Ag in the Classroom lesson.  As our county’s ag literacy coordinator, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to bring ag based lessons to students and teachers.  So, with the Olympics right around the corner, and American wool clothing our athletes, here’s a short lesson linking the two.

Here’s what I came up with:

Start with the video above. Supplement with the Sheep Ag Mag from Illinois Ag in the Classroom. Finish with a fun craft: Make your own sheep. (This craft came from another awesome ag literacy coordinator, Pam Clodfleter.)

We crafted this sheep using black cardstock instead of white and used a "google" eye instead of drawing one on the face.  The clothespins were also painted black, but could be colored with a black permanent marker.

We crafted this sheep using black cardstock instead of white and used a “google” eye instead of drawing one on the face. The clothespins were also painted black, but could be colored with a black permanent marker.

Materials

  • One pattern (see pattern below)
  • Two regular size clothespins
  • Cotton balls
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black marker or crayon

Instructions

  1. Cut out sheep’s body and ears (the oval).
  2. Fold ears (the oval) in half.  Open and apply glue to the inside.
  3. Fold ears over the sheep’s head and press to adhere ears to head.
  4. Pin on clothespins as the sheep’s legs.
  5. Cover one side of the body – up to the ears – in glue and press on cotton balls.  It may be easier to pull the cotton ball gently apart in order to cover more space.
  6. Turn sheep over and repeat #5.
  7. Finally, use the black marker or crayon to make an eye on the sheep’s head.

Here’s the pattern:

This pattern will make four sheep. Each pattern includes the sheep body and one oval (the ears).

This pattern will make four sheep. Each pattern includes the sheep body and one oval (the ears).

What do you think? Please share by staying on topic, and refraining from offensive language and personal attacks. Thank you!

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