Project Mālama Kaho’olawe

If you plan for a year, plant kalo
If you plan for ten years, plant koa
If you plan for one hundred years, teach the children
-Puanini Burgess

Produced by the Pacific American Foundation in partnership with:
Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission
Polynesian Voyaging Society
Protect Kaho’olawe Ohana

Curriculum was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education S362A060059, although it does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. ©2008 – 2020 All Rights Reserved, The Pacific American Foundation.  For Educational Use Only, under the limited circumstances of the Fair Use Doctrine. 

As a Teacher, Parent or Student, you may print a copy of sections, within reason, of our educational materials for non-commercial use only.  Materials may also be purchased, and donations are accepted by our nonprofit organization, which is another way to support creation of educational materials and programs for our local communities.

   The Hawai’ian band is a traditional representation of Hawaiian gods, na’aumakua (guardian ancestors) and all our kūpuna (elders) who came before us, the clouds, mountains, earth, and sea. Along the side are petroglyph figures representing some of the petroglyphs found on the island of Kaho’olawe.

The Ka Palupalu o Kanaloa (Kanaloa kahoolawensis), a critically endangered plant species, reminds us of the need to mālama Kaho’olawe. The only remaining plant in the wild clings to the cliffs of ‘Ale’ale–a seastack off the southern coast of Kaho’olawe.

With our Malama Kaho’olawe curriculum we learn from Kaho’olawe and how to become involved in projects that ‘heal at home.’

The island of Kaho’olawe provides a unique opportunity to explore our connection to the ‘aina (land and sea). Without any of the trappings of modern civilization, the land reveals itself in a raw and beautiful way – the numerous rock remains of house sites, petrogyphs, and heiau (shrines) takes us back to a time when Hawai’ians lived harmoniously with the land and sea, growing ‘uala (sweet potato) in the uplands and harvesting fish from the island’s bountiful reefs.

The loss of topsoil and damage to the island’s cultural sites and native ecosystems have taught us much about the way that human activities impact the environment.

 Since the return of the island to the State of Hawai’i, the healing and restoration have taken place provide an inspiration to all of us and awaken a spirit of aloha ‘aina that can guide us to care for our home island.

Since students may not actually visit Kahoʻolawe, our video series takes them along on a high school huakaʻi (field trip) to the the island where they explore significant island sites and learn from knowledgeable people along the way. It can be watched here online, or, viewed on TV by the whole family on ROKU TV on the Malama Channel.   

image-teacherguideThe complete (all grades/topics) curriculum in pdf is a 150MB file of 512 pages.
For individual grades or topics, use the tabs at left.

Unit Introduction
 – a general background on the topics presented and a description of the lessons. The Introduction includes the following components:
Unit Map – an overview for the teacher of focus questions, key concepts, and assessments for each lesson
Rubrics – unit summative assessments for students’ performance on culminating projects
Student Assessment Overview – an overview for students that provides expectations and a list of journal pages that they will complete as formative assessment. The overview includes a journal cover for students’ journal folders.
Instructional Activities – Each unit includes four to five lessons that are designed to be taught sequentially, and include Nā Honua Mauli Ola (Hawaiian Guidelines for Learning),materials lists, and everything you will need to use our lessons or create your own with our materials. Teaching suggestions included in each lesson and the estimated time for completing the lesson have been refined based on a field test that was conducted with teachers for most of the lessons during the course of the project. The teaching suggestions are designed to help students meet the standards, but they are, of course, only suggestions since there are many different and effective ways to approach the activities.

    • Student readings
    • Maps
    • Journal pages
    • Data sheets
    • Activity cards

View and Download the full PDF
Web version coming soon in 2021

Grade 8
Ka Piko – Voyaging

Why was Kaho’olawe an important location for training navigators?

How do we carry on voyaging traditions today?

The island of Kaho’olawe served as a training site for ancient navigators. Historically, Kaho’olawe was the prime location for ocean voyaging and its position in the Hawai’ian archipelago allowed navigators to study the stars, sunrise and sunset, winds, and ocean currents.

The island is the piko (center) of the Hawaiian island chain and “the point of arrival and departure for canoes journeying to and from the southern islands” (Reeve, 1995).

Lesson 1:  Ka Piko – Center of Voyaging

Students discover the relationship of Kaho’olawe to early voyaging through oli (chant), mo’olelo (story), videos, and presentations.  They identify key sites significant to the training of navigators on Kaho’olawe maps, and share what they learn through illustration and writing.

Lesson 2: Ulu ka La, ka Mahina – Sun and Moon
Students explore the many relationships of the sun, moon, and Earth and how they affect  seasons, tides, or weather conditions.  We’ll learn about how navigators forecast the weather.

Lesson 3: Makani and Kai Ko – Winds and Currents
Students conduct an experiment to find out how atmospheric and ocean convection currents are created. We’ll design and build model canoes and observe how the canoes move under simulated conditions.

Lesson 4: Ka Lani Pa’a – Celestial Navigation
Students explore how to use a star compass for celestial navigation, comparing forms of ancient and 1nodern-day instruments used in navigation. We’ll play a Ka Lani Pa’a game to reinforce how navigators use the star compass.

Lesson 5:  Voyaging Traditions Ho’ike
Students work in teams to produce a five minute ‘newscast” about the significance of Kaho’olawe as a site for training navigators.  Students apply their knowledge and creativity to write and illustrate a  story for younger students. They help to carry on voyaging traditions by sharing their knowledge through a community ho’ike (exhibit). Classes are encouraged to visit sites (virtually) that are significant to voyaging on their island, and take part in community projects to build canoes and preserve navigational sites.

Download Teacher Curriculum

Social Studies – Grade 9-12
Hoʻi Ho:  History & Civics

We begin with the history – the events that led up to the end of military use of Kahoʻolawe.

The story of the return of the island to the State of Hawaiʻi is a compelling one that allows students an opportunity to see a dynamic interplay of cultural / social, economic, and political forces. It is a time that gave birth to the Hawaiian Renaissance—a reawakening of Hawaiian cultural practices, site restoration, language immersion programs, voyaging, and music.

We then discuss the movement to stop the bombing of Kahoʻolawe, and how it lead to social, political, and economic changes in Hawaiʻi. We investigate what is being done to heal the island today? Students explore this question through research, metaphors, fine arts, timelines, and interviewing community members. They summarize what they have learned in a final paper that answers the unit essential question. Students also work on culminating projects using art, music, or theatrical productions to depict social, political, or economic causes and effects of change that led to the healing of Kahoʻolawe.

In the first lesson, Aloha ʻĀina, a DVD produced by the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) introduces students to Kahoʻolawe. We’ll read excerpts from George Helm’s journal and a letter from PKO to President Carter as an introduction to the movement to stop military use of the island. Students conduct research to identify causes and effects of significant changes that led up to the events described in the letter and journal.

In the second lesson, Different Perspectives, students use metaphors in the form of graphic symbols to reflect on and compare a Hawaiian perspective with the perspective of the U.S. military regarding use of Kahoʻolawe. Students work in groups to express these perspectives and compare and contrast them.

The third lesson, Hoʻi Hou – To Return, challenges students to create a large timeline with string and event cards in the classroom. The timeline dates from 1600 to 1994, when Kahoʻolawe was turned over to the State of Hawaiʻi. Students work individually to research significant events from the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 until the return of the island to the state in 1994. They interview adults and write journal reflections to describe how those events were significant in the Hawaiian Renaissance.

In the fourth lesson, Healing of Kanaloa, students play a game that focuses on the value of laulima (cooperation) and the interconnectedness of all of us with the ʻāina. They summarize and discuss what they read about the navy cleanup of Kahoʻolawe and the activities that are being conducted to heal the island and revitalize Hawaiian cultural and spiritual practices, such as the celebration of Makahiki to honor Lono, the Hawaiian god of agricultural fertility, medicine, and peace. Students work to complete culminating unit projects that they present to others in a hōʻike (exhibit) for the community.

Values Emphasized: Aloha ʻĀina (Love of the Land and Sea) Hoʻokuleana (Taking Responsibility), and Mālama (Caring)

View and Download Teacher Curriculum

To Balance

What can we learn from Kahoʻolawe & modern science that would help us to reduce our school’s carbon footprint?

Lesson 1: Earth Energy Moʻolelo
Lesson 2: Carbon Cycles
Lesson 3: Carbon Budgets and Footprints
Lesson 4: Lessons from Kahoʻolawe
Lesson 5: Hoʻokaulike- To Balance

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Earth Science

Lesson 1: Hiki Mai Ka Lā- Here Comes the Sun

Lesson 2: Makani and Kōī Au – Wind and Flowing Currents

Lesson 3: Calling Back the Clouds

Lesson 4: Red Clouds

Lesson 5: Mālama ʻĀina

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Grade 7
Kei Kai – Marine Science

How can we malama (care for) our ocean environment and have enough fish for today and for future generations?

Students learn about the nearshore fisheries populations in Hawai’i. They compare traditional Hawai’ian fishing methods to modern methods and present their findings, explaining what we can learn from the Kaho’olawe marine reserve to malama (care for) fisheries today and in the future.

Lesson 1: Ke Kai Kapu- A Marine Sanctuary

Lesson 2: Fishing Around with Technology

Lesson 3: Taking a Watershed-Based Approach

Lesson 4: Investigating Marine Ecosystems

Lesson 5: Mālama i Ke Kai

View and Download the full teacher package