Earth and Space Science

astronomy and Hawaiian seafarers

I'm teaching astronomy next quarter. I wanted to infuse some Hawaiian culture into the lesson by using the Hawaiian voyaging canoes. In my mind, that was remarkable... to be navigating without any "modern" technology, yet they were so knowledgable about the stars. This is a long-shot, but would anyone happen to have resources to share or guide me to? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated Mahalo!!! (thank you!!) Ken

Ken Liu
Ken Liu
2000 Activity Points

Ken which grade level do you teach? And what island are you on? There is the Imiloa center in Hilo on Big Island that does have some curriculum for this. They give out some scholarships for field trips, but that won't work if you are on a different island. They have a great planetarium that shows the constellations and talk about how the Hawaiians used this for navigation. I teach third grade but I think the fourth graders learn about that curriculum at my school. I am not completely sure though.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer
2300 Activity Points

Oh here is the link for Imiloa's website and for teacher resources: http://www.imiloahawaii.org/98/classroom-resources

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer
2300 Activity Points

Thank you for the info, Shawna! Definitely a valuable resource. I teach high school but could definitely modify for my students. I am at Kalaheo HIgh in Kailua, Oahu.

Ken Liu
Ken Liu
2000 Activity Points

Shawna, Thank you for the link. Although I teach on Oahu, I am sure I can use some of the resources from this site and adapt them to my teaching. There are many resources on the site that explain star patterns and constellations. One of the third grade benchmarks in Hawaii is to explain that constellations only appear to move, but in reality stay in the same position. I printed out the constellation identification cards that I will hopefully use for a lesson later on in identifying and explaining constellations. My students love to play games and I can see them using the cards to play "memory". Another idea I liked was the kinesthetic learner section on the moon phases and position of the sun and Earth. I have many active children in my class who will appreciate a lesson that incorporates movement. I can definitely see this getting my students engaged. Thanks for the great resource. Alayna

Alayna Maldonado
Alayna Maldonado
1750 Activity Points

I have always found this topic full of richness and opportunity to connect culture and science. In addition to the links others have provided, I would suggest you take a look at the Kumulipo, or Hawaiian creation myth. It might be interesting to do a cross cultural comparison of Greek mythology and creation stories, relating this all back to the big bang and constellations - perhaps even bringing up the concept of perspective. Lot o' worms in this can, though - but a rich, deep topic.

Duncan Sutherland
Duncan Sutherland
1750 Activity Points

I believe WCC has the Hokulani Imaginarium. They will have a show called Mauna Kea Between Earth and Sky, it's the same one that Imiloa shows in Hilo, I believe they are showing it in April, unfortunately. They do school field trips also.
Another place in Oahu would be Bishop Museum, they have the show Explorers of Polynesia. If you are interested in using a virtual planetarium in class, I would suggest you download "stellarium" you can alternate the myth and lore feature to different cultures, even polynesian. The myth and lore feature shows you the constellation according to the chosen culture. You could try out the Polynesian Voyaging site for compasses, lesson plans and other resources.
Funny thing, we have such a rich culture and resource here in Hawaii in terms of geology, astronomy, oceanography and biology yet they are not explicitly included in our standards and benchmarks.

Harvey Llantero
Harvey Llantero
210 Activity Points

Hi Ken, I'm from Kailua; my parents still live there. I usually start my 7th grade History of the Hawaiian Kingdom with navigation. I always teach about Master navigator Mau Piailug who taught Nainoa Thompson and helped begin the Hawaiian Renaissance. The public library has a great documentary that features footage of Piailug talking about the stars. The Bishop Museum has a cool planetarium as well. This looks like a good site: http://www.ion.org/satdiv/education.cfm The Polynesian Voyaging Society is probably the best source of reliable information and opportunities. It's a windy weekend. Erin

Erin Mendelson
Erin Mendelson
2680 Activity Points

Hi Alayna, Glad you liked the link. Thanks for reminding me about the third grade standards of constellations. I guess it could work for my grade level too! I also teach third grade and will be teaching space science during the fourth quarter. I am glad we all have a resource to use.

Shawna Fischer
Shawna Fischer
2300 Activity Points

Hi - I found a voyaging link on vimeo (not you tube!) http://vimeo.com/13789314 This one is a Polynesian Voyaging Site with a video too. http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/hoonaauao/resources_film_video.html And one more with a canoe arriving in Hilo - where I am at! http://www.hawaii247.com/2011/06/21/polynesian-voyaging-canoes-arrive-in-hilo-on-pacific-expedition/ Hope these are helpful.

Cheri Alonzo
Cheri Alonzo
1995 Activity Points

What a wonderful topic! The concept of wayfaring is vitally important to the Native Hawaiians. The Hawaii state library system has a DVD that I've watched before. It's called "Children of the Long Canoes: A Unique History of Hawaii". You may be able to target portions of the video for your lessons.

Rena Roybal
Rena Roybal
1810 Activity Points

I can't wait to check out those links when I return from vacation, can't see video from here too well. I loved "The Last Navigator" which wasn't about Hawaiian but Micronesian navigation, excuse my ignorance, is that close enough in the family tree to be of interest? The book was awe inspiring, and sad as you see what has been culturally lost.

Dov Kruger
Dov Kruger
185 Activity Points

Yes, Hawaiian/Polynesian voayaging is very intriguing. I have a cousin who is very passionate and involved in Hawaiian Voyaging and navigation being trained by Nainao Thompson (Master Navigator). As for resources, one of the best places to go on O'ahu is the Marine Education Training Center (METC) at Sand Island. Nainoa Thompson is usually there as well as others very knowledgable and willing to share. Best resource is to talk to people involved. Other resources include PBS.com linked to Polynesian Voyaging Society, Bishop Museum with the stories of voyaging and learning about stars, and there is also Kualoa Beach where people there are willing to teach.

Randolph Florendo
Randolph Florendo
110 Activity Points

Hello,
You may be interested in the NSTA/NASA sponsored website, "Comet Facts, Myths and Legends."
I often find resources that indirectly fit my curriculum needs, and with a few magical twists, additions or exclusions they become a perfect match! I hope that this site will do the same for you!

Enjoy, Alyce

Alyce Dalzell
Alyce Dalzell
64075 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers