What is Race Around Australia ?
Race Around Australia (RAA) is a virtual physical activity challenge where classes and schools race each other around Australia.
Student participants complete short bursts of physical activity across the school day. This could be five minutes of running or walking a set course. Staff participants can complete a range of physical activity options across the whole week which are then converted to RAA kms. Participants, or the coordinating teacher, log this distance into the RAA website. This distance is then displayed on a map tracking student/staff, class and the whole school as a team, racing a set course around Australia.
When students reach certain locations, they unlock content blogs about that place. Currently this content is aligned with science, geography, history and PDHPE curriculums. Participants can also earn personal achievement badges and share their distances with their friends to keep them motivated.
A preliminary pilot of RAA undertaken in 2019 by 12 schools was very successful. In 2020, a web application was developed to minimise the workload for teachers and to add curriculum links, two important aspects to ensure long term success of this initiative.The app was then piloted to 50 schools as well as 50 corporate staff teams showing great engagement and participation. RAA has also shown great potential for a range of health, wellbeing and cognitive benefits for participants.
In 2021, Race Around Australia will be added to the NSW Premier’s Sporting Challenge as part of their program suite to motivate more students and staff to be more active, more often.
Physical activity options
It is important for our student health and engagement that they are able to participate in a range of activities. Our purposefully designed physical activity resource pack includes safe activity options that have been developed in collaboration with The University of Newcastle. This range of activities ensures student safety and a range of choices for students. We are continually adding to this physical activity resource pack.
RAA links the curriculum areas of PDHPE, science, history and geography in an innovative way. When a teacher creates their class they select the appropriate student stage. This ensures that the education content that students ‘unlock’ along the way is stage appropriate. Students unlock milestones upon reaching certain towns which creatively link NSW syllabus content to towns, landmarks and cultural experiences. For example, when a students class reaches Port Macquarie, famous for its Ironman Triathlon, students learn about different components of fitness or how to accurately measure their heart rate during exercise (PDHPE curriculum). When the class reaches Grafton, the focus is on the Jacaranda Festival and how the flowers get their colour (science curriculum).
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Perspectives
Students ‘unlock’ an acknowledgement of country each time they pass through a new Aboriginal country. There are 92 countries along the journey and students can read about the geographical borders of each country. Students can also ‘unlock’ Aboriginal Dreamtime stories along their journey which can be used to link to creative arts and literacy activities.