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Kindergarten students get their hands into the watershed- quite literally!. After exploring the beach for signs of change that may have been caused by water, teams of students created watershed models and used a variety of tools and props to simulate the impact of water on the land. We noticed it is important to think about the path and activity of water when building a home. We saw how forests (sponges, in our model) can hold water and reduce erosion.
Pomaika'i students build a relationship with nature through repeated visits to Waihe'e Coastal Refuge during all their years at our school. As educators and parents, we know how valuable it is to connect our students with the natural world while their values are forming. Humans are hardwired to need nature—because we are part of it. Increasingly, children lack access to nature and the freedom to explore local flora and fauna. How can children care about nature if they haven’t experienced it firsthand? As caring adults, we must do all that we can to facilitate this connection.
Grade 4 has been focussed on watersheds this year. Students have used ArcGIS, drama, music, visual art, research and Hawaiian culture studies to immerse themselves in the importance of healthy watersheds. During a visit to Waihe'e Coastal Refuge in March, we hiked a little over a mile to the estuary where Waihe'e Stream meets the Pacific Ocean.
Students observe waves breaking on the reef offshore at Waihe'e Refuge.
How does the energy of the off-shore waves compare with the wave energy striking the shoreline?
In what ways does this off-shore reef impact the formation of the beach?
How would this place be different without this reef?
Exploring sand samples using ProScopes and iPads. Students appreciate the colors, size and texture varaitions in a grain of sand and answer the question, "What can careful observation of sand grains tell us about how this beach was formed?"