School: Papahana ʻo Kaiona
Grade Level: Grades 9-12
Teacher: Lyman Panui, Kristine Ginoza, Ramon Corpuz
Driving Question: In what ways are electrolytes related to our bodies, our food, and our soil/ʻāina?
What did the students DO?
This group was one of the few who had permission to continue with field experiences during COVID-19, largely because they had their own method of transportation — an essential part of place-based learning.. They were able to visit Kahumana Organic Farm weekly for the entire school year, working closely with farmers in their community.
During the last quarter of the school year, students in the Papahana ʻo Kaiona program explored the idea of hydration and dehydration in relation to what they put into their bodies, their overall health, and their surroundings. To begin the project, students sampled dehydrated foods to feel and taste it in order to have a discussion about the reasons why one would want to eat dehydrated food. They tasted dried mango, beef jerky, and Gatorade powder as a stimulus for conversation around the benefits of the process.
The following week this “taste test” was connected to the topic of electrolytes and how we need to restore them in our bodies after exercise or sweating in the heat (like farmers do all day!). Students were surprised to learn that water is not the best way to rehydrate! The farmer who they worked closely with, Travis Woo, shared his experiences with dehydration and how he is sure to rehydrate himself throughout his work day. These introductory lessons and genuine place-based connections provided the foundation and real world application for students to gain interest in learning more about electrolytes. Their kumu began bringing morning snacks high in electrolytes and nutrients in order to prepare the students for their day in the hot Waiʻanae sun: bananas, celery, peanut butter, honey, and ʻōlena-infused tea. Some of the additional topics for mini lessons included: fruit vs. vegetable, types of vegetables, food as medicine, what is a food hub, and types of soil in their moku.
The foundation for curriculum and place-based connections was essential to the success of the studentsʻ learning and final presentation of understanding at their hōʻike in May. They were able to recreate several activities, such as the soil testing and ʻōlena dyeing, as well as sharing information about the importance of rehydration. This is, perhaps, the best demonstration of authentic learning: being able to teach others.
Place-Based Field Experiences/Connections
Moving into the place-based connection, the group did soil testing to see what nutrients were lacking in the very unique soil of the Lualualei ahupuaʻa. Grabbing samples from several different fields on the farm, students were able to test and report back to the farmers and inform them about the needs of each field. For example, if a field was lacking potassium, the farm team could discuss what would be the best crop to add next time. Additionally, working physically and mentally alongside members of their community provided an opportunity for the students to learn more about their own place.