Hockey Lessons to Get Ready for the Stanley Cup Finals
The Classroom

Hockey Lessons to Get Ready for the Stanley Cup Finals

Newsela Editorial
May 15, 2024

Standing three feet tall and weighing about 35 pounds, the Stanley Cup is considered one of the most prestigious trophies in all of sports. Why? Because of the dedication it takes to win after 82 regular season games and four best-of-seven playoff rounds. And don’t even get us started on the potential for sudden-death overtime games. Help your students get excited for the action-packed Stanley Cup Finals series with these engaging hockey lessons:

Go on a power play with engaging ELA hockey lessons

What do your students know about hockey and the NHL? Help them build background knowledge on the sport and its playoff run using Newsela ELA:

Is athletic competition good?

Many people love watching sports, especially during the playoffs when the stakes are high. They may make brackets to predict which team will win, or make silly bets with friends on the outcome of a game or series. But is all this devotion to winning and competition healthy? Use this hockey lesson as a debate topic for your students. To help them form their opinions and strengthen their arguments, share articles on topics like:

  • The reaction to the Washington Capitals’ first franchise Stanley Cup win in 2018.

  • How the Pittsburgh Penguins use their home scoring stats for good by partnering with a local nonprofit to plant a tree for every goal scored.

  • A profile on PWHL star Sarah Nurse, cousin of Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse, and how she’s quickly becoming one of the faces of the new women’s professional league.

Indigenous hockey players finally have their own rookie trading cards

Many people may think of hockey as a Canadian sport, but it’s popular around the world. NHL teams have a variety of players from different countries and backgrounds on their rosters. Use this SEL lesson to teach students about the importance of representation in sports, especially at the professional level:

  • Have students read about Upper Deck’s “First Peoples Rookie Cards” collection that features players like Ted Nolan, Rocky Trottier, and Dan Frawley.

  • Assign an empathy map activity to have students reflect on Ted Nolan’s experiences as an Indigenous hockey player and his thoughts about receiving a rookie card years after he retired from the league.

  • Extend the lesson by having students research other historically marginalized communities that lack representation in sports and develop ideas for how professional leagues could increase representation for those groups.

Slap shots and hat tricks

Want to help students build even more background knowledge on the NHL and the sport of hockey? Use this collection to have students look at important topics from around the league, like:

  • What the NHL expansion process looks like and how it’s bringing hockey to new areas of North America that didn’t have a team to root for.

  • Why the NHL is seeing fewer fights during games, even though historically on-ice brawls were a hallmark of the sport.

  • How in recent years more retired NHL players are holding the league accountable for health problems, like concussions, that stemmed from injuries and fights during their careers.

Break the ice with eco-conscious science lessons

Science affects sports more than your students may realize. Use Newsela Science to help students explore how topics like states of matter and climate change can impact the game of hockey:

NHL vs. climate change

Does climate change have anything to do with sports? Athletes, spectators, and even the executives of professional sports leagues say yes. Use this lesson to teach students about climate change and its effect on sports. Throughout the lesson, you can cover:

  • How climate change affects a variety of indoor and outdoor sports, from hockey to golf and even the Winter Olympics.

  • What the NHL is doing to fight climate change to preserve the future of the game, especially its outdoor events like the Winter and Heritage Classics and the Stadium Series.

  • Extend the lesson by asking students to brainstorm ways they can prevent climate change in their town and write a proposal to town leaders for how to make one of their initiatives happen.

How fast does ice melt on different surfaces?

The Stanley Cup Finals—and all other hockey games—-need ice to play. But with the last series of the year happening in May and June (and sometimes also in the desert!) what does that mean for the playing surface? Use this lesson to teach students how and when ice melts and see if where you live could affect the ice quality at a Stanley Cup Finals game:

  • Look at the three phases of matter—solid, liquid, and gas—and how water can take all three forms.

  • Discover the phase changes that happen between states of matter and consider what they might mean for making and maintaining ice at a hockey game.

  • Explore why salt melts ice to teach students about temperature and freezing point.

Newsela’s lessons and content always make the save

With a teammate like Newsela, you’ll always have access to a hat trick of high-interest content, engaging activities, and relevant assessment materials to create top-quality lessons for your students. Not a Newsela customer yet? Newsela Lite users can claim their free trial to get access to Newsela ELA, Newsela Social Studies, and Newsela Science!

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