A primary school teacher in Southampton has even created a replica yacht for her students and plans to Skype the race teams

Sailing and the Volvo Ocean Race has taken over our classroom and our curriculum. This week, we are having a geography day based on Auckland. The chidlren are going to be skyping some friends of mine in New Zealand, to ask them questions about what life is like on the other side of the world. We are also going to be teaching them the Haka and finding out about how Aukland compares with Southampton.

I had an idea one evening, which I put to our caretaker, Mr. Scholfield. He saw my vision and between us we built our very own Volvo Ocean Yacht in the classroom. I sourced different resources and came up with an actual sail and possible helm. A kind grandparent donated some fenders, an anchor and a flag to add to it.

Seeing the children’s faces when they came into class when it was finished, was just fantastic. They love hoisting the main sail up and down the mast, lying in the boat to read books and the role play that takes place is so fascinating to just sit and observe.

Our own replica Volvo yacht!

Our own replica Volvo yacht!

Through my own sailing links, I managed to organise for my class to spend a day onboard Hummingbird, which is an ex clipper yacht that I have sailed on. The children were so excited and spending time on her and trying out the sails, the ropes, winches etc has made the whole race become so real for them.

Jo Mumford school children Volvo

Some of the school kids spending time on Hummingbird, an ex Clipper yacht

I have many more ideas planned for the rest of the race and have emailed the teams. The Dongfeng team media and communications manager contacted me at school and we are currently organising a live Skype session with my kids and the boat in the Southern Ocean!

Here are some comments from my children:

Dawid (aged 8) – I think the VOLVO is pretty cool because they are going round the world and its good for us to see them. It’s good learning and fun to do maths about the VOLVO.

Alex (aged 8) – It’s good because when they arrive at the finish of a each leg, we get to learn about the place they have stopped at. It’s good maths because it is a big topic we can do lots of maths about. I think it’s good that we are following it and that each day we can plot our own route on the virtual regatta.

Taniesha (aged 8) – its made maths fun to do using a topic that we are looking at and enjoy very much. I go home and do my own maths based on VOLVO. I am creating my own map for them.

Nora (aged 8) – I like checking the map at home and showing my mum and dad and telling them all about it.

Domink (aged 8) – for my homework, I am drawing my own map and marking the boats on and the different legs.

Jo will be blogging about her Volvo Ocean Race activites in the classroom. Keep an eye out on the Yachting World website.

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