Middle School News

Mid-Pacific Sixth Graders on the World Stage

IUCN Congress Student's Day

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Scot Allen

Hawai'i Youth Challenge 2020


The IUCN World Conservation Congress was hosted on O'ahu, Sept. 1-10, at the Hawai'i Convention Center. On Sept. 6, students from all over the state engaged in a day of design thinking to develop sustainable solutions for our future. Mid-Pacific led the way with all 120 sixth graders in attendance.

The students and their teachers visited dozens of exhibits from all around the world. Although each display presented a unique set of environmental and social challenges, students soon learned that students in Hawai'i have much in common with people from around the planet.

"The students had a chance to visit all of these different pavilions that are dedicated to a specific cause," says Sumoha Jani, sixth grade teacher. "They are learning about how technology is actually supporting conservation around the world. And that is the exciting part because Mid-Pacific is consistently evolving and innovating in the use of technology."

The design thinking process allows students to brainstorm and develop their ideas, and then collaborate in a group where they put all of the ideas together to synthesize new solutions.

"We have many ideas, but come up with one idea to work with," Says sixth grade student Elilai. "I think this process is a good way to cooperate and put all your ideas out there. The process is a good way to work with others and respect each other's ideas."

"The whole purpose of this conference (and Mid-Pacific's field trip) was to develop our young people to be good stewards of the environment, as well as to look for sustainable solutions to help our planet," says Jani. "Given our sixth grade big ideas of self, citizenship, culture, systems and global connections, this seemed like a perfect fit to introduce them to how they can play a much larger role in the world. It brings more meaning to what we will be learning throughout the year."

Students visited a pavilion detailing efforts in the preservation of endangered species. They learned about using cameras that track migration patterns of animals, and connecting with that information through an app on their iPads. Other displays graphically illustrated global climate change on large 3-D displays.

"Our students had a chance to interact with other schools and truly be a part of a global community to focus on conservation and sustainability," says Chief Innovation Officer Brian Dote. "At Mid-Pacific, we strongly believe in the use of technology and developing empathy with our fellow community members. We enjoyed presentations from companies like Google that showcase ways that technology can be used to benefit the planet. Our students were able to work with students from other schools in activities designed to help our community and the planet."