Three weeks ago, the 7th grade ventured to Hawaii, after studying for a good month on the organisms that live there, the Polynesian culture, and the Westerners influence; including both the war and farming. The students visited many sites, where they had to show their understanding of the environment or of the Polynesian culture. They also had some amazing experiences as a class. These included trying to make fire at the Polynesian Cultural Center, racing through one of the world’s largest mazes at the Dole Plantation, taking part in a beach cleanup where they helped prevent plastics from making their way out into the ocean, and swimming under a freezing waterfall at Waimea Falls. When we returned, we asked our students why we take them to Hawaii of all places to study culture and adaptation. Here is one of the great responses we got to this question:
The Hawaiian Islands are a great place for us to go to study evolution and history. Its environment makes for a great place to learn about the evolution of organisms that are unique to Hawaii and to see adaptations of many species. One thing that sets creatures in Hawaii apart from others is that many are unique to just the island of Hawaii. There are a lot of rare plants and animal life that have grown and adapted specifically to the tropical environment of Hawaii. For example, many vines have learned that in order to get enough space and sunlight to grow, they must climb up trees for great support and enough room to flourish. In addition, the animal life on the island is vast and can be seen almost everywhere. This allows for us to get an up close and personal look at the majestic creatures that inhabit this island.
From a historical standpoint, Oahu also holds great importance. This is where the Pearl Harbor bombing took place and took the lives of many brave men. This was important for us to learn about because in order for us to prevent tragic events from happening in the future, we must first be educated on the past. Also, it allows us to see an important day in history up close. We also studied the effects of leaking oil in Pearl Harbor. We were taught about how seven liters of oil leaks from the USS Arizona daily and how that effects the environment around it. This causes damage to the surrounding marine life; Ms. O taught us about the interesting and sad effects. For these reasons and more, I feel Oahu was a fantastic place for us to study and learn. – Olivia