The WIRED Program will connect students to current, ongoing, leading edge science investigations in the bays, streams, wetlands, ponds, and ocean of their school’s ahupua`a. Teachers will gain experience in leading water quality, bio-assessment, and ecological investigations where students gain appreciation for the scientific inquiry process and research level data sampling methods, as well as the design of sampling devices and habitat restoration tools. WIRED will also work with the teachers’ curriculum and pacing guides to implement innovative and best-practice teaching strategies that bridge in-and out-of-school activities. This will additionally increase the teachers’ comfort and knowledge of providing and developing higher level inquiry driven and hands on lessons. The nature of the Program will develop sustainable partnerships between scientists, educators, and community stakeholders to improve STEM instruction in Hawai`i schools.
Each school will be supported to study the environment of the local ahupua`a, pose questions about their observations, identify both anthropogenic and natural challenges posed to the watershed, with particular attention to the impact of climate change, including sedimentation, elevated temperatures leading to bleaching of coral populations, acidification, high nutrients from non-point source pollutants, and marine debris. Each school’s ahupua‘a and watershed provides a challenge for students to investigate the issues and assess the threats to a sustainable ecosystem. Students and teachers will gain connections to current research efforts in their school’s wetlands that provide the opportunity to conduct service learning project and enable students to give back.