Going Beyond the Classroom: Service-learning to Apply STEM Skills in the Community (On Demand: Recorded)
Main Topic: Indigenous Knowledge, Perspectives, and Approaches
Session Type: Paper
Hawaii’s educational system has been dominated by Western thinking, disregarding indigenous knowledge as a source of knowledge within the classroom and omitting it to teach curriculum (Chinn, 2011). Particularly, the norm of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is traditionally based on Western European white males (National Research Council, 2009), resulting in a cultural barrier to learning for Native Hawaiian students. To provide Native Hawaiian students opportunities in Hawaii to thrive in STEM, we developed the Ka Pilina No‘eau (KPN) math and science learning (MSL) model for K-5th graders. The MSL model uses Native Hawaiian and local cultural contexts to teach STEM knowledge and skills and concepts through culture and make Pilina (connection) to daily living. One way of making this connection is through community service-learning activities. This presentation describes what service-learning students have participated in, investigates what they have learned from the activities, and shares how going beyond the classroom should be part of learning experiences so students have a better sense of place to illuminate the interconnectedness of their culture and their knowledge of STEM learned in the classroom. Service-learning activities intend to: (1) showcase Native Hawaiians applying STEM in culturally relevant ways; (2) cement knowledge gained in the classroom through hands-on activities; (3) and show the importance of giving back to the community. Examples include activities at Mānoa Stream, Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai (Kānewai), and Camp Pālehua. Traditional protocol of entering new places requires asking permission before entering; students learned an ʻoli, or chant, to ask permission to enter our service-learning locations. At Mānoa Stream and Kānewai, participants heard moʻolelo (history/genealogy) of Kāne and Kanaloa and learned how moʻolelo were tied to those places. Additionally, they learned to care for those environments through culturally appropriate methods and the importance of native species in conservation efforts. At Camp Pālehua, students learned the Camp’s history and their efforts to teach traditional Native Hawaiian knowledge, partially through the restoration of traditional Native Hawaiian plants to the mountain ecosystem, which our participants were able to assist with. Service-learning activities taught participants (1) moʻolelo of Mānoa; (2) how moʻolelo explain geological features and phenomena; (3) how to use STEM to care for these places; (4) what indigenous methods were used to care for the land and resources; and (5) how communities benefit from people giving back to them. These community-based activities further cement the language and moʻolelo that were introduced and taught in our classes. Through KPN activities, 2-3rd graders feel more connected with Hawaiian culture and demonstrated a stronger sense of belonging and place. 4-5th graders also demonstrated stronger connectedness with Hawaiian culture, making statements such as: “I understand the Hawaiian ways of understanding the world,” “I know what I do affects people around me.”
- Describe what service-learning students have participated in,
- Investigate what they have learned from the activities,
- Share how going beyond the classroom should be part of learning experiences so students have a better sense of place to illuminate the interconnectedness of their culture and their knowledge of STEM learned in the classroom.
Keywords: service-learning, indigenous knowledge, hands-on
View the Session: https://community.pacrim.coe.hawaii.edu/groups/4189398/feed
Mrs. Samantha Wee Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa - Junior Specialist/Project CoordinatorMrs. Samantha WeeCenter on Disability Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa - Junior Specialist/Project Coordinator
Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Samantha Wee, M.Ed., is a Junior Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i where she is a Project Coordinator for after school STEMS programs for elementary school students. Her interests are assisting students with disabilities with their post-secondary educational goals, as well as making STEM curriculum more culturally relevant and engaging for all learners.
Dr. Kiriko TakahashiInterim Director/Principal Investigator
Interim Director/Principal Investigator – Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Kiriko Takahashi, Ph.D. is an Interim Director at the Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and is involved in a number of research projects to improve the STEM outcomes of underrepresented students. She is also a Project Associate Professor at Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo, Japan. Her background is in Learning Disabilities and Disability Studies. Her research interests include assistive technology, culturally responsive teaching, transition of students with disabilities into higher education and employment, and universal design for learning.