Week 1: Physical Limits

Sport and Exploration

(Year 6-8)

Kia ora and welcome to the first week of the Summer Learning Journey! We are so glad you have joined us! This week we are going to be learning about people who changed the world through sport and exploration. The people included in this programme are only a small number of the exceptional, influential and inspirational explorers and sportspeople in the world. On Day 5 you will get the chance to choose someone you are interested in and share what you learn about them on your blog.

Get ready to learn about some brave, strong people who have taken risks and pushed boundaries!

DAY 1: Explorers

Activity 1: Setting Sail [4 points]

People from Pacific nations have always been expert explorers and navigators. In the past, they used the stars, sun and ocean swells to find their way (navigate) around the Pacific Ocean. Master navigator, Nainoa Thompson, has used the ancient Polynesian wayfinding skills to navigate around the world. In 2013, Nainoa led a crew across the Pacific Ocean on two large canoes (Hokule’a and Hikianalia). The crew stopped off in Aotearoa, New Zealand in 2015 on their journey and visited the Manaiakalani Schools in Auckland.

Here is a short video about Polynesian navigation. It describes the different ways ancient Polynesian navigators used the natural world to find their way around vast oceans. Incredible!

I think that it would be difficult to be ‘at sea’ for weeks at a time. I would miss my family but I would also enjoy the adventure. Let’s imagine that you were invited to join Nainoa for three weeks at sea. As part of the journey, you have to pack your own food.

For this activity, make a list of ten food items that you could take with you. Please think carefully about what you will take as you won’t have access to a refrigerator or freezer while at sea. Please explain why you would select each item.

On your blog, post your list of 10 food items you would take on an ocean voyage and the reasons why you chose these items.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 2: Discovering Aotearoa [4 points]

Many people believe that Kupe was the first explorer to discover Aotearoa, New Zealand in about 1300. He navigated his way by waka to Aotearoa from Hawaiki using traditional Polynesian navigation techniques - just like Nainoa Thompson (from Activity 1) did much later on. Legend says that he followed a great octopus all the way to Aotearoa/New Zealand and finally destroyed it in Cook Strait (the water between the North and South Islands).

Many years later, a Dutch explorer from The Netherlands, Abel Tasman, was exploring the Pacific Ocean when he came across New Zealand. He thought that he was the first person to ‘discover’ the country (despite the fact that Māori already lived in New Zealand!) and made the claim in 1642 that he had ‘discovered’ a new land. His exploration of New Zealand inspired many other European explorers to follow his lead and travel to the Oceania.

Kupe and Abel Tasman were two different men from two very different backgrounds (cultures) who shared a common interest - exploration.

Image Attribution: Kupe by Sid Mosdell is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For this activity we would like you to think about your own experiences and your own cultural background. Where does your family come from? Do they come from Europe like Abel Tasman, Polynesia like Kupe, or somewhere else?

On your blog, please tell us about your cultural background. Where do you and your family come from?

*Please remember that you need to be cybersmart in what you share online.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 3: Scaling New Heights [6 points]

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and his sherpa (guide), Tenzing Norgay, were the first people to reach the summit of Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

At the time, Edmund Hillary was an apiarist (beekeeper) from Auckland, New Zealand. During the summer he worked as a beekeeper, and during the winter, he climbed mountains. Becoming the first person to summit Everest was not easy. In fact, Edmund Hillary attempted (tried) to climb to the top of Mt Everest three times before he succeeded. He was determined to reach the top!

While this famous explorer and climber is mostly remembered for being the first person to reach the summit of Mt Everest, he has also made a huge impact on the world through his charity work. In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary set up the Himalayan Trust to bring education, healthcare and safe drinking water to the people of Nepal - the country where Mt Everest is located.

For this activity, please select a charity that you are interested in. You may choose your own or use one from our list (below). Read about the charity.

List of Possible Charities:


Auckland City Mission

Air Rescue


On your blog, write a short explanation of what the charity does.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

DAY 2: Up in the Air

Activity 1: Flying Solo [4 points]

Jean Batten was a famous aviator (pilot) who was born in Rotorua, New Zealand in 1909. In the 1930s she made several record-breaking solo flights (on her own) across the world. In fact, she was the first person to fly solo from England to New Zealand - a huge achievement! She also flew a number of long solo flights between England and Australia/Brazil. When she flew, she always took a silk dress with her so that she could look beautiful at the parties she attended upon her arrival.

Amelia Earhart was an American aviator who lived at about the same time as Jean Batten. Like Jean, she also flew solo. In fact, she was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew all the way from Canada to Northern Ireland on her own without stopping. In 1937, Amelia Earhart attempted to circumnavigate (go right around) the world. Unfortunately, the flight ended in tragedy when she disappeared near Howland Island, about halfway between Australia and Hawaii. She was never found.

For this activity, compare and contrast these two aviators. You could use this venn diagram.

On your blog, share your comparison between the two women and be sure to include at least three similarities and three differences between these two aviators.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 2: One Small Step for Man [4 points]

Neil Armstrong was an American astronaut and engineer. In 1969, Neil and his team of astronauts flew to the moon in a spacecraft called Apollo 11. When they arrived, Neil got out of the spacecraft and walked on the moon. He is the first person in history to walk on the moon! As Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, he famously said, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

As you can imagine, landing on the moon is a very dangerous task. Many things can go wrong, and a number of astronauts have died attempting to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins (the three astronauts on Apollo 11) must have been extremely brave.

I always imagine that walking on the moon must be like jumping on the trampoline! Do you like jumping on a trampoline? My daughter Laila loves it!

For this activity, let’s imagine that you were Neil Armstrong.

On your blog, write a short poem describing how you felt when you first set foot on the moon. Here is a link to some different poetry forms.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 3: Miracle on the Hudson [6 points]

Mr Chesley Sullenberger, or “Sully” as he was known, was an airline captain (pilot) for about 30 years. In 2009, he became world famous when he landed his aeroplane in the middle of the Hudson River in New York City. He was forced to make an emergency landing when both of the engines in his aeroplane lost power. Amazingly, all 155 people on board the A320 plane survived the landing. This incredible event became known as the ‘Miracle on the Hudson.’

You can watch a video about it here.

Although Sully must have been scared when the engines lost power, he didn’t show it. Instead he stayed calm, and saved the lives of everyone on board. What a brave man!

For this activity, we would like to hear about a time when you, or someone you know, was brave like Sully.

On your blog, recount a time when you (or someone else you know) did something brave.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

DAY 3: Team Players

Activity 1: Rugby Superstars [4 points]

Jonah Lomu was a rugby superstar. He was the youngest ever All Black, selected at just 19 years of age. He went on to have an amazing career that included 63 caps (international games) and 37 tries. Jonah was Tongan, but spent most of his childhood in Mangere, South Auckland. He started out playing touch rugby and rugby league but changed over to rugby union and quickly made a name for himself. He was very tall, strong and fast.

Richie McCaw is another example of a famous rugby player. He was the captain of the All Blacks between 2004 and 2015. Like Jonah Lomu, he had an outstanding international career in rugby union and had many achievements. In fact he was the most capped All Black captain, most capped test rugby player and World Rugby Player of the Year in 2006, 2009, and 2010. He has been given a Halberg Award and made a member of the Order of New Zealand. As well as being an outstanding player, Richie McCaw was also a strong leader and captain.

For many people, players like Jonah Lomu and Richie McCaw are superheroes with extra special ‘superpowers.’

For this activity, let’s imagine that you could be a superhero for a day. What three superpowers would you most like to have?

On your blog, please list the three superpowers, tell us why you have chosen each one, and tell us what you are going to do with them.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 2: Defying the Odds [4 points]

LeBron James is one of the most famous professional basketball players in the world. He currently plays in the NBA (National Basketball Association) for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has won numerous awards over the years, helping his teams win many important games.

Steven Adams also plays in the NBA, but unlike LeBron, Steven comes from Rotorua, New Zealand and is the half-brother of Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams. That’s a pretty cool family connection, isn’t it?! Steven Adams currently lives in the United States and plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.

Despite being born in different countries, these two incredible basketballers have a number of similarities. Both men came from humble beginnings. Neither of their families had a lot of money, and neither man grew up with a father at home. Even though they faced challenges, they were able to overcome them. Both men are examples of what is possible when you work hard and believe in yourself.

For this activity, we would like you to imagine that you had the chance to interview LeBron James, Steven Adams or another basketball player of your choice.

On your blog, tell us who you would interview and then provide a list of five questions that you would like to ask your chosen player.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Image Attribution: Silver Ferns by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images. Image Source.

Activity 3: Achieving our Dreams [6 points]

The Silver Ferns are New Zealand’s professional netball team. They are based in Auckland and play against teams from all over the world. Next year they are due to compete in the first ever Netball Nations cup competition in England.

In order to earn a place on the team, each of the players had to prove that they were one of the best netball players in the country. They have all had to work very hard, sacrifice many things, and show dedication and determination throughout their careers. In many cases, they have also had a lot of support from others - their family, friends, teachers, coaches. This support has allowed them to pursue their dreams and to, ultimately, do a job that they love.

For this activity, choose a friend or family member and ask them what their dream job would be. Please then brainstorm six ways in which you could support them in achieving their dream job.

On your blog, present your ideas as a poster or infographic.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

DAY 4: Individual Pursuits

Activity 1: Making a Racket [4 points]

Billie Jean King, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams are three exceptional, female tennis players. They are not only outstanding athletes and some of the best tennis players in the world, but they have fought for women to be recognised as equals to men in the game of tennis. Billie Jean King famously beat a male tennis player, Bobby Riggs, in 1973, to prove to the public that women could compete at any level in tennis.

Billie Jean King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was recently awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - Lifetime Achievement Award.

For this activity, watch these videos about Serena and Venus Williams.

On your blog, tell us three things that you learned from watching these videos, as well as one thing you would still like to know.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 2: What’s in a Name? [4 points]

Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest boxers of all time. He started boxing when he was 12 years old and went on to become the World Heavyweight Champion numerous times in the 1960s and 1970s.

Muhammad Ali was an African American man born with the name Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. When he was a young man, however, he became a Muslim and converted to Islam. When he converted, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. During his life, Ali gave a lot of time and money to various charities. He also helped to feed more than 22 million people across the world who didn’t have enough food. Despite all of his charitable work, Muhammad Ali is still best known for his agressive boxing style, his confident personality and his inspirational quotes.

Changing your name is a big deal! If you were to change your name, what would you change it to?

For this activity, imagine that you were allowed to change your name to anything that you wanted.

On your blog, tell us what you would change your name to and why you would choose that name.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 3: Worth her Weight in Gold [6 points]

Dame Valerie Adams (half sister of basketballer, Steven Adams) is a shot put champion from New Zealand (NZ). She has won the World Championships four times as well as both gold and silver medals at the Olympics. Here, in New Zealand, she has won the Halberg Award for New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year seven consecutive times (2006-2012)! She is a bit of a legend both in NZ and in her homeland of Tonga.

Valerie Adams is a proud Tongan New Zealander. You can see her wearing a ta’ovala in the photo. There are many Tongans living in New Zealand - you may be one of them! The Kingdom of Tonga is a group of 169 islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is located between Fiji, Samoa and Niue. Here are some travel tips about Tonga.

For this activity, imagine that you were asked to create a travel brochure for Tonga (or a country that is important to you). On the brochure, include lots of great tips about what to see and do in the country.

On your blog, post your finished copy of your brochure.

*Remember to attribute the images that you use and write the information in your own words.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

DAY 5: Against the Odds

Activity 1: National Treasure [4 points]

Sophie Pascoe is a New Zealand para-swimmer. This means she is a competitive swimmer with a physical disability. Very sadly, Sophie was run over by a lawn mower when she was only 2 years old. She had to have the bottom of her left leg amputated. However, despite this terrible accident, she was determined to become a competitive swimmer.

Sophie has won numerous New Zealand and world para-swimming titles, including nine Olympic gold medals. She has also won the Halberg Award for Disabled Sportsperson of the Year three times. Sophie is a great example of a New Zealander who did not let her disability stop her from achieving her dreams. She is truly a National Treasure’. A national treasure is someone or something that is very important to a country.

For this activity, we would like to learn more about the things that are important to you.

On your blog, please share three things that you treasure and say why they are treasures to you.

Personally, I treasure an old piano because it has family history for me. My dad bought the piano when he was a teenager and played it a lot as a young man. When I was little I learnt to play on the same piano and now my daughter Laila loves to play it too! It has brought a lot of joy and music to our family.

Activity 2: Swimming to Safety [4 points]

Yusra Mardini is a teenage girl who was born in Syria, a war-torn country in the Middle East. She left Syria in 2015 to get away from the constant fighting and became a refugee. During her journey to reach safety in a new country, the engine on the boat she was travelling in broke down and Yusra, her sister and two others jumped out of the boat and swam to get help. Her heroic actions saved twenty people’s lives.

Yusra now lives in Germany. In 2016 she was named as part of the Refugee Olympic Team and she swam for this team in the last summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is now training for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

For this activity, listen to the podcast of Yusra Mardini, or read her story on her personal website.

On your blog, retell the story of this amazing young woman from Syria.

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!

Activity 3: Own Choice [6 points]

You have now made it to the end of Week 1 and have the chance to choose your very own sportsperson or explorer who you think has changed the world. There are no right or wrong choices for this activity, so find someone who interests you and tell us about them on your blog. It could be someone from your family, church, community or someone famous who you admire.

Here are some starting points in case you get stuck:

Jessica Watson

Tanielu Tele’a

Sachin Tendulkar

Ann Bancroft

Kelly Slater


Laura Dekker

For this activity, please choose one person (a changemaker) and read all about them.

On your blog, provide us with:

  1. The name of the person

  2. A description of the work they do/have done

  3. An explanation of how they/their work has had an impact on the lives of others

*Remember to attribute any images that you borrow from the internet or from other people.

*Please check out the Eye-Catching Blog Posts page for ideas!