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Ka Papa Loʻi o Voyager

A community partnership to develop Hawaiian science curriculum at Māhuahua ‘Ai o Hoi, a 200-acre mauka-to-makai area in Heʻeia that includes loʻi kalo and loko iʻa.

Project lead: Hokulani ʻAikau
Objective: To provide Hawaiʻi ‘ohana and ‘ōpio with content that is culturally relevant and appropriate in a learning environment that challenges the classroom-centrism of Western school systems; to develop a 3rd grade science curriculum that utilizes Hawaiian ecological knowledge and provides haumāna with hands-on ‘āina-based learning at Māhuahua that meets Hawai’i content area standards for science. Includes:

  • Safe access to the wetland areas to engage in place-based learning opportunities and activities that increases students’ cultural, historical, and ecological knowledge about Heʻeia ahupuaʻa and Māhuahua ‘Ai a Hoi.
  • Culturally relevant, hands-on learning opportunities to increase enthusiasm about science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Understanding of how Hawaiian ecological knowledge builds on the interconnectedness of science, technology, and society
  • Research that focuses on: the value of water in a Hawaiian cultural context; how water moves through the ahupuaʻa; the ecological significance of the loʻi system for downstream systems; and the impact of restoration on native and non-native plants and animals who live in the wetland.
  • Opportunities that will inspire haumāna to become advocates for their community, their ahupuaʻa, Hawaiʻi nei, and the world.

Community partners:  Kelly Ralleta, Voyager Public Charter School (3rd grade kumu); Nathan Dube, Kākoʻo ‘Ōiwi (a non-profit working to restore loʻi kalo along Koʻolau coast); Māhuahua ‘Ai o Hoi.
Communities served:  3rd grade students at Voyager Public Charter School; Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi and their ongoing restoration efforts; the greater community as the project creates learners who are aware and respectful of the natural environment.
Benefits to communities served:  Integrating Hawaiian scientific knowledge and cultural practices into the curriculum will positively impact students’ school engagement which will translate into greater engagement with STEM subjects; “…as haumāna see the relevance of STEM for their community, they will also be advocates for the places they live…” Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi receives kōkua in their ongoing restoration efforts of the Heʻeia wetlands; Voyager kūmu have curriculum created.


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