Hawaii Artifacts - Mid-Pacific Institute

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Hawaii Artifacts

Posted on November 17, 2017

by Kelly Tokuhama on November 17, 2017

As we have been exploring places that are significant and special to us, the students are making many references back to Hawaii. They are beginning to share their personal experiences, connections, and ideas about Hawaii's unique culture with one another:

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"I can't believe spam musubis are only in Hawaii!"

"We have beautiful beaches and seashells here."

"We say slippers, and people in the mainland say 'sandals.'"

"The sun is always shining, and you can see rainbows!"

"At our graduations, you give flower leis."

"Lots of Hawaiian animals are only in Hawaii."

"UH sports are so popular!"

"The temperature is always warm in Hawaii."

This week the students were asked to bring in an artifact that they felt represented Hawaii. We started sorting through these artifacts and building our inquiry around the stories, history, and significance behind each item.

We learned that the ukulele was actually introduced from the Portuguese culture. They had a similar guitar called a machete, and now in Hawaii we play the ukulele. In English the word ukulele means "jumping fleas." We also watched a couple of performances from the famous Jake Shimabukuro, and the students were fascinated! They had many questions about how the ukulele is constructed, why there are only four strings, how Jake Shimabukuro plays so well, and how to tune an ukulele. The students also explored the concept of sound, as they observed how the pitch of the ukulele changed depending on the fret you held, the amount of strings you strummed, and how you tuned your instrument.

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Later in the week we studied seashells brought in by many students. The students painted pictures of their shells and are starting to write poems about them. Here are some of the observations they made during their seashell inquiry:

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The kukui nut lei we discovered, looks nothing like the original kukui nut form. Therefore, the students predicted that a lot of work must go into each nut, as we prepare them for lei making. (Perhaps this is why many kukui nut lei can be expensive!) They appreciated the learning the process of picking the kukui nut, cracking its outer two layers, and polishing the shell before strung into a lei. Some students also learned that "kukui nut oil is like lotion!" and "that if you eat too much kukui nuts, the oil will make your stomach sick."

hw0_223447_1 (1).jpgThank you so much for making our Hawaii artifacts inquiry such a personal and meaningful one. We are excited to continue exploring and researching the other items our students brought. They are quickly learning that Hawaii is truly a very special and unique place to live.

*Please take a look at our international students and visitors with whom we shared about Hawaii during International Education Week!

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Upcoming Dates:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 22- NO SCHOOL, Teacher Conference Prep

  • Thursday, Nov. 23 & Friday, Nov. 24- NO SCHOOL, Thanksgiving holiday