Lesson idea: Design a Tokyo Olympic medal

(Last Updated On: August 6, 2021)

Objective: Students investigate the symbols of the Games and create their own medals

Age range: 8-18

Websites: and

Each Olympic Games has its own unique design for the gold, silver and bronze medals, combining traditional imagery, like Roman numerals, olive branches and the five rings, with local culture and event details (location, dates, etc.).


1. Discuss medal imagery with your students and challenge them to come up with their own design.

2. Draw the design, then create a prototype in paper/cardboard.

3. Login to Tinkercad (or a similar design tool) and create a new project. Start by selecting a cylinder and use the handles to make it the appropriate size. (Official medals are 85mm wide and 12.1mm thick.)

4. Add the design (texts and shapes). More advanced students could make the writing bend around the outside edge of the medal (

5. Use the hole tool to create a place for the ribbon.

6. Select all the shapes and use the group tool to make a final medal. Export and 3D print the medal.

Uses in the classroom

Tinkercad is an excellent resource for students to explore measurement and geometry; 3D printing allows for accuracy in measurement down to the millimetre. Shapes will need to be rotated, which leads to a meaningful investigation into degrees. Students can complete a design analysis to identify the symbolism that promotes the Olympics and its values. The medals could also be used as rewards the winners in a school organised Olympic Day.

Lesson idea by Simon Clarke, Principal at Kaikorai School in Dunedin.


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