For many decades in Hawaii, high school science classes revolved around textbooks and lessons drawn from the U.S. mainland. Island students struggled to relate to plants, animals, and natural phenomena they had never experienced, while neglecting to explore the natural laboratory that lay at their feet. In 1996, a group on the island of Maui gathered to address this problem. Teachers from public and private schools, biologists with the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy, and other interested parties volunteered their time and expertise to create a curriculum that linked Hawaii State science standards with locally relevant examples.
The result was Ho’ike o Haleakalā, which translates as “Haleakalā revealed.” Haleakalā, the tallest mountain on the island of Maui, supports a multitude of diverse ecosystems, each with its own unique flora and fauna. Studying the geology and biology of Haleakalā allows students to engage the full breadth of biodiversity present in the Hawaiian Islands.
What’s happening now?
Today, the Ho’ike o Haleakalā lessons are available online for anyone’s use. Print copies were distributed to all the public and school libraries on Maui. Ongoing support for the curriculum is provided by Maui Invasive Species Committee, which offers classroom visits and teacher training workshops.
How to Use This Curriculum:
Ho’ike o Haleakalā can be used as a semester-long or longer course focusing on native ecosystems and management issues. Each module, unit, or activity may also be taught separately.
The Ho’ike o Haleakalā curriculum is divided into five modules. The first four each cover a discrete ecosystem on Haleakalā. The fifth covers invasive species and is applicable to all ecosystems. Each module is represented by an icon and color.
Alpine/Aeolian: The wolf spider (Lycos hawaiiensis) is an endemic species found only near the summit of Haleakalā. (Tan)
Rain Forest: The ‘ākohekohe or crested honeycreeper (Palmeria dolei) is an endemic forest bird once found on both Maui and Moloka’i, but now found only on East Maui. It is endangered. (Green)
Coastal: The honu or green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is an indigenous reptile that spends much of the year in coastal waters around the main Hawaiian Islands, migrating up to 800 miles to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for summer nesting season. The honu is listed as a threatened species. (Dark Blue)
Marine: The humuhumunukunukuapua’a or Picasso triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus), a common fish on shallow reef flats, was voted the Hawai’i State Fish in 1984. Its Hawaiian name means “nose like a pig.”(Light Blue)
Invasive Species: The fire ant is a serious invasive threat to all Pacific Islands, including Hawai’i. One species of fire ant, Tropical Fire Ant (Solenopsis geminata), is already well-established. The real concerns are Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) and Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata). The latter species was recently introduced on the island of Hawai’i where it is causing significant problems. (Orange)
Each module consists of five units. Each unit includes two-six activities. Throughout the materials you will find suggestions for journal activities, optional field trips, and additional research.
You can download the pdf for an entire module, unit, or activity on their associated page. Activity pdfs are separated into teacher and student pages.
Words that might be unfamiliar to students or have multiple definitions are included here for your convenience.
Funding for this project was provided by the Strong Foundation, Alexander & Baldwin, Atherton Family Foundation, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, and Cooke Foundation, Limited.