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America's Cup

America's Cup logo.

Kia ora! New Zealand is hosting the America's Cup event during term one 2021. The Prada Cup challenger series runs from 15 January to 22 February 2021 and the America’s Cup itself runs from 6 to 21 March 2021.

A range of educational material and activities have been created to give students the opportunity to use the America’s Cup as a real-life context for building science, technology, engineering, and maths capabilities, for understanding our shared voyaging history, and for gaining important water skills for life and safer boating skills.

The ideas and resources on this page support schools, kura, and early learning services to weave the America’s Cup into their local curriculum.

About the America’s Cup schools’ programmes

Emirates Team New Zealand boat.

The America’s Cup is as much a technological design race as it is a sailing race. 

A range of programmes have been developed that use the context of the America’s Cup to support learning in New Zealand schools and early learning services. Some of these programmes focus on the science, technology, engineering, and maths involved in harnessing the power of the wind. Other programmes explore our shared voyaging history, including the maths and science involved in navigating across the ocean. Finally, there are programmes that focus on understanding marine ecosystems and taking action to reverse their degradation.

Curriculum connections

NZC Curriculum icon.

The America’s Cup is an excellent context for a cross-curricular teaching and learning programme using The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. The America’s Cup is a relevant context for strengthening literacy and numeracy skills, developing the key competencies, and exploring values as well as for learning through science, technology, mathematics, and the social sciences.

How can you get involved?

There are six core programmes available to schools and early learning services in term 1 2021.

Genesis School-gen: Emirates Team NZ Schools’ Programme
As the official energy partner of Emirates Team New Zealand, Genesis is working with the team to inspire New Zealand’s next generation of Kiwi innovators through the Genesis School-gen programme. 

Working with members of Emirates Team New Zealand, School-gen have developed a range of activities and teacher resources that use sailing and the America’s Cup as a real-life context for learning. The aim is to help young New Zealanders understand how science, technology, engineering, and maths are used in the race for the America’s Cup and to inspire them to develop the skills they will need for the future of work.

Yachting New Zealand: Kōkōkaha – Powered by Wind
Kōkōkaha is available to schools and kura throughout New Zealand. It is an integrated unit of work that focuses on the science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) associated with harnessing the power of the wind. Kōkōkaha includes classroom and sailing learning experiences.

Classroom experiences include hands on activities to help your students learn about the power of the wind. Sailing experiences include going sailing to feel the power of the wind and interacting with a set of resources to understand how sailing technologies work. Kōkōkaha's classroom experiences can be adapted for any year level while the sailing experiences are intended for students in years 5 through to 10. Learners use the skills and knowledge they acquire to design and share a technology to harness the power of the wind. 

New Zealand Maritime Museum: ‘America’s Cup – From A Nation Born of Sailors’ and the ‘Blue Water, Black Magic Exhibit’
The New Zealand Maritime Museum has two programmes linked to the 36th America’s Cup. The first is an educational online learning resource called ‘America’s Cup – From a Nation Born of Sailors’. These high definition digital packages take learners from the early voyagers to Aotearoa, to the history of the Cup, through to realising how New Zealand became a nation of expert sailors and innovators. 

In the second initiative called ‘Team Wero’ students engage in team challenges using the concept of kotahitanga to discover how team-work |mahi-tahi achieves success. A self-guided trail will take students through the refreshed Blue Water, Black Magic exhibit which includes interactives and displays showcasing New Zealand’s involvement in the America’s Cup over the years. Schools and kura can choose to either visit the museum or participate in the programmes online. 

Young Ocean Explorers: 21 Day Challenge
Join thousands of students as they simultaneously participate in the pre-planned 21 day guided inquiry in the lead up to the America’s Cup finals. Created by teachers for teachers, this highly engaging programme includes 21 days of learning, thinking, creating and action to engage and empower students to care for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Ko te Pātaka kai o Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi, or their local moana. 

The 21 Day Challenge encourages an increased knowledge of the ocean, particularly the Hauraki Gulf, builds an understanding of the importance of the ocean to many people in various ways and supports children to think about kaitiakitanga and care for our ocean. By the end of the 21 days children will have developed a way of sharing their learning to encourage others to understand and care for our ocean. 

SPARK 5G Race Zone
In the heart of the Viaduct Harbour is the SPARK 5G Race Zone. Students can explore the ultimate high-tech world of innovation and see how Emirates Team New Zealand push the limits of design using Spark 5G, as they prepare for the 36th America’s Cup.

The SPARK 5G Race Zone has seven immersive zones where students can design and test their own AC75, see NIWA wind data like never before, race along with Emirates Team New Zealand or take an augmented reality (AR) selfie with the team.

Yachting New Zealand and DOC: Manaaki Moana – Building NZ’s Blue Belt
Manaaki Moana focuses on the science involved in restoring marine ecosystems. During the 2021 school year a group of sailing clubs around the country will begin to be established as Education Outside the Classroom centres as a legacy of Aotearoa New Zealand hosting the America’s Cup.

Each club will work with a cluster of schools or Kāhui Ako to start building NZ’s Blue Belt as a means of restoring degraded habitats and marine ecosystems around our coastline. Students will work on ideas and plans to restore and monitor habitats for specific species in their rohe. 

Instructional Series

Another great way to get your students involved in the America’s Cup is to incorporate it into your reading and writing programme. The Instructional Series offers a range of texts about sailing, the ocean, sustainability, and sea life. 

Iris and Dog Star, School Journal Level 3, May 2019
This article is based on the diary of Iris Marshall, a ten-year-old girl who sailed on the yacht Dog Star with her parents and a family friend from New Zealand to Nouméa. The text details the highs and lows of the journey from Iris’s perspective and includes some excerpts from the on-board logbook.

Journey on the Sea, School Journal Level 3, August 2018
Aotearoa is an island nation with more than 15,000 kilometres of coastline (only nine other countries have more). It’s no wonder so many of us love the water. But activities like swimming, surfing, fishing, and sailing all involve risk. On average, more than a hundred New Zealanders drown each year.

The Plastic-free Challenge, School Journal Level 2, November 2018
When the Room 5 students at Motueka South School saw a video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, they were inspired to take action. There’s a lot of media attention on how plastic is polluting the oceans, and it sometimes seems as if the problem is too big to tackle. These students show that it’s possible to make small changes that lead to big results.

Giving the Ocean a Voice: Connected 2013, Level 2
How is the Pacific Ocean doing? Is it in good health? The crews of seven voyaging canoes have been finding out. What did they observe?

Sea Science: Connected 2019, Level 2
This article describes a citizen science project carried out by three schools on Aotea Great Barrier Island. Concerned by the amount of marine debris washing up on their beaches, the students partnered with scientists from the University of Auckland to investigate what was happening and to take action to bring about change.

Under the Sea: Connected 2018, Level 4
This article reports on a survey of a 100-metre long rocky reef located 11 kilometres off the Taranaki coast. Students from local high schools are partnering with divers, biologists, engineers, fishers, and local iwi to discover and record the plants and animals that make the reef their home. 

Useful resources

A major focus for the sport of sailing both internationally and in New Zealand is environmental sustainability, particularly in the context of the ocean. The following resources will help you provide a focus on environmental sustainability in your local curriculum.

DoC education resources
The Department of Conservation has a range of education resources that can be found on the education hub. This page is designed around a conservation education journey. Starting with inspiring teachers to see nature as a context for teaching and learning, through to trying out nature activities and fully integrated, New Zealand Curriculum linked, inquiry-based learning.

Nature taster activities
Designed to pick up and go like a recipe card, these six 'nature taster' activity cards make it easy to get outdoors and use nature for teaching and learning. The six activity cards aim to spark interest and build a meaningful relationship with nature for teachers and learners. 

Ranger kōrero: The big picture 
A series of short films presented by DOC rangers that explore key concepts of our unique New Zealand environment and how all of us can enjoy and protect our nature. This includes episodes on ‘what is conservation’ and ‘what is biodiversity’. 

Protecting our marine world
This resource is an integrated curriculum teaching resource using New Zealand’s marine environment as a real-life context for learning. It provides students, teachers, and their communities with opportunities to grow their knowledge, skills, and understandings about marine conservation, so that they can help resolve environmental challenges for the marine environment in their local area and beyond. The resource links to The New Zealand Curriculum at levels 1-4 but can be adapted for use at various levels. It contains teaching and learning material grounded in Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS) / Conservation education and incorporates aspects of Te Ao Māori (a Māori worldview). 

Protecting our estuaries 
This resource is an integrated curriculum teaching resource using New Zealand’s estuaries as a real-life context for learning. It provides students, teachers, and their communities with opportunities to grow their knowledge, skills, and understandings about estuarine conservation, so that they can help resolve environmental challenges for estuaries in their local area and beyond. The resource links to The New Zealand Curriculum at levels 1-4, but can be adapted for use at various levels. It contains teaching and learning material grounded in Environmental Education for Sustainability (EEfS) / Conservation education and incorporates aspects of Te Ao Māori (a Māori worldview). 

Tāiko black petrel education resource
This resource is an integrated unit of teaching and learning material about the tāiko black petrel and other seabirds, for use in primary schools. Students are introduced to the tāiko black petrel and then extend their learning inquiry to investigate and research gannets tākapu, little blue penguins kororā, and red-billed gulls tarāpunga. The resource has been developed for year 5-8 primary teachers, with a New Zealand context. It incorporates aspects of Te Ao Māori and addresses science, social science, English, mathematics, and environmental education/ education for sustainability objectives from across the NZ Curriculum. 

Observing a royal albatross 
The ‘Royal cam' is a camera set up at a royal albatross toroa nest at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin. The nest is filmed for the entire breeding season. These activities have been designed to support student viewing of the Royal cam. 

Kia Kaha Te Reo Taiao 
These posters and booklet include te reo Māori and English words and phrases about the environment: Te Ao o Tangaroa – Marine, Wai Māori – Fresh Water, Te Wao Nui a Tāne – flora, and Te Tini a Tāne – fauna. 

Marine mammals of New Zealand poster
This poster has details of the different types of whales, dolphins and seals in New Zealand and where they are found. 

Kiwi Guardians 
The Department of Conservation has partnered with Toyota to deliver Kiwi Guardians, an activity programme which aims to help kids learn about nature and earn cool rewards while doing so. The programme helps tamariki explore, discover, and experience their natural environment, learning about how wonderful it is and how to protect it. A range of sites have been selected across Aotearoa with Guardian Posts located on them which contain a unique code, unlocking a special certificate and a kiwi guardian medal for those who undertake the adventure.  

50 things to do 
DoC asked kiwi kids to put together a list of things they love to do in nature. DoC listened to all their ideas and created a top list of 50 things. You’ll find fun things to do in around your home, in your backyard, on your deck or balcony, and from window views. 

Marine Metre Squared
The Marine Metre Squared (Mm2) project has been developed by the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, Department of Marine Science, University of Otago. The aim of the project is to encourage communities to get involved in long-term monitoring of the seashore, to raise awareness of biodiversity and changes in the marine environment, and build links between scientists, educators, schools, and community/iwi groups who care about the seashore environment and want to look after it. They welcome participation from individuals, community groups, and schools – anyone with an interest in the NZ seashore. MM2 provide a suite of resources to support students, teachers, and community to undertake a MM2 survey and marine identification. 

Experiencing Marine Reserves and Whitebait Connection
The Northland-based Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust (CC23406) was established in 2002, as a charitable umbrella and support organisation for the Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) marine education programme and Whitebait Connection (WBC) freshwater education programme. These are both leading models in education for sustainability in Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

Blake – Inspiring environmental leadership
Blake aim to restart people caring for the environment through adventure, participation, education, and enjoyment. Inspiring and preparing people to lead a sustainable future. They have several programmes to achieve this goal. 

Hauraki Gulf Forum
Every three years, the Hauraki Gulf Forum produces a report on the state of the Hauraki Gulf environment and the responses by agencies to its protection and enhancement. The forum also publishes a range of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park posters

Updated on: 05 Nov 2020


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