Recommended age group: 7–18
Time required: one to two 45–60 minute sessions
Equipment: History of the Paralympic Games information sheets.


The Paralympic Games is the largest multi-sport event for disabled athletes in the world. Participation spans 140 countries and covers six classification groups from those with spinal cord injuries to the visually impaired. At the London 2012 Games, more than 4,000 Paralympic athletes competed in 20 different sports watched by audiences all around the world.

Use the Paralympic history fact files, the links below, and Paralympic slides of the Olympic and Paralympic history presentation to learn about the fascinating history and origins of the Paralympic Games, including details about the birth of the Paralympic movement at Stoke Mandeville; the symbols and ceremonies that mark the Paralympic Games; the Paralympic Torch Relay and the technological and scientific developments which support athletes with disabilities. 

Try out some of these ideas for using the fact sheets in the classroom and inspiring students to create their own Paralympic factfiles:

  • How many differences can the children find out about the first wheelchair games in 1948 compared with the Paralympic Games in 2012? You could start by exploring the materials in the 'Paralympic Games' area of the International Paralympic Committee's website and the school area of the Mandeville legacy programme, at the Mandeville Legacy website.
  • Challenge the children to choose one of Paralympic athletes from the IPC's Hall of Fame, or a current ParalympicsGB athlete and create a fact file about him/her.
  • The London 2012 Paralympic Games is now history. Which 10 best things do your students think people will remember about them in the future? Challenge your students to write/illustrate their own history file about the London 2012 Paralympic Games, including their memories of the Torch Relay, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the athletes and their favourite moments, etc.
  • Create an assembly as a class, with students working in small groups to create a slide each. Show them the Olympic and Paralympic history presentation to get them started, and encourage students to include some of the inspiring stories from our greatest Paralympic athletes. Once complete, the class could present what they have learnt in a school assembly, or slide-by-slide to their peers in the class.


For younger students, select a fact file to focus on as a reading task. Focus students research on a specific area of the Games – for instance, what new sports have been added since the first Games, or since London 2012? Older or more able readers will be able to use the sheets independently as part of their project. You could also print the sheets out to incorporate in wall displays or presentations.