Papa ʻEpekema

Our Science Vision

Students who exit KES Kapālama Science will have a deep appreciation of science as a human endeavor to understand more about their world. They will recognize their kuleana to utilize a variety of sources to build knowledge through inquiry.

Ma ka hana ka ‘ike. They will learn science by doing science. Haumāna will create a dynamic concept of interdependence. They will communicate their learning and develop their own conclusions based upon their experiences.

Students will begin the journey of formulating their kuana‘ike, their own perspective and world view regarding their island environment—ka ‘āina and ke kai—and their relationship with our planet.

Primary Science

The Hawaiian Islands are an amazing place for science on our planet. Did you know that we have homes for 11 of the Earth’s 13 climate zones? Our keiki here have a unique learning opportunity. They can explore this world and share their discoveries with each other and with you! Our keiki scientists can also investigate how their ancestors knew this place in the middle of the sea.  Their ancestors were great natural scientists who recorded their observations in mele and art which we can still study today. 

To maximize this valuable opportunity, our haumana learn science by doing science. Ma ka hana ka ‘ike.   

•Learners construct understandings for themselves.

•To understand is to know relationships.

•Knowing relationships depends upon past knowledge.

Our children notice, wonder and explore. They observe, ask questions, plan and investigate. They seek new information to build knowledge and then revisit their work. They challenge themselves to collect and record their experiences as data and then reflect upon and organize their results. They learn from each other. Together, we look for cause and effect relationships as we share our thinking and find new ideas in our science community. These ideas will lead us to new questions, new investigations and new learning. We look to make connections with what we know and what has come before us to understand more about our islands today.

Our curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. These standards emphasize an approach to observing by investigating phenomena in our world using science and engineering. The Primary Science program does this with a balance across the fields of physical science, life science and earth science.   Young students develop the “habits of mind” that scientists use in the inquiry process. In engineering, the approach is to identify and investigate problems, then to work together to innovate, create, test and produce a variety of solutions. This design thinking model is included in each grade level curriculum.

The Next Generation Science Standards focus on 3 dimensions for science education.

Cross-cutting concepts—these big ideas of science frame our work together.  In Grades K-2 we link our work to the ideas of cause and effect along with structure and function.

Science practices—are processes and skills for our active scientists.  They practice obtaining, evaluating and communicating information, planning and carrying out investigations, asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering), using models to develop understandings, using mathematics to improve observations and organize data, culminating in the last skill of constructing explanations.

Core standards address specific concepts in each of these realms of science– Physical Science, Life Science, Earth Science and the Application of Engineering, Technology and Science.  In the Primary Program, we select from each area to recognize the developmental capabilities and potential for growth in our young learners within the instructional time for our program.

Each haumana creates a science journal to document his/her unique observations and share growing thinking in visual and written language. Integrating technology with science, we include our school iPads as a tool to capture student observations of phenomena. Students investigate science at home with homework assignments to make connections in a new context and to inform and involve families. We share completed homework assignments together in science lab to learn more from each other and help each other learn. We create projects to share our discoveries with others in our school.

Specialist Science classes are organized across a 6-day cycle for learning. We work together for 20 lessons in a semester. Lab classes are held twice a cycle for a semester to improve learning continuity for our keiki.  Kindergarten classes last for 65 minutes, first grade classes are 70 minutes and second grade classes are 75 minutes long. With our new schedule shift to Early Out Wednesdays, we have new opportunities to expand special projects beyond the scope of our core program.  Kumu are exploring different models to meet student learning needs by working together and collaborating with individual classes and grade levels K-6. Primary science also collaborates with other specialists across our disciplines to extend common topics for student learning in different perspectives and contexts.

Ohana Adventures

You are your keiki’s first kumu. We appreciate your support and efforts to learn more with your child as they grow. When your family wants to explore more science at home, you too can explore the NGSS science practices along with cause and effect in Life Science (plants, animals and their ecosystems), Earth Science (land, sky and water) and Physical Science (matter, motion, forces and interactions). Remember you all have the basic tools of great scientists-your 5 senses! Using your senses to explore will extend and enrich everyday experiences and build great detail in observations and language. The more you explore, the more you find! Encourage your keiki to experience and then describe in terms of what they feel, hear, see, and carefully smell and taste. Science safety is important, be clear they should not smell, taste or touch objects that they don’t know. They can look at them from a distance and ask to find out more—you can help them explore safely with boundaries. Observation words describe, they don’t include opinions. People even use their imagination and make up new words so someone else will know more! Keep exploring to find out why your child likes something or doesn’t like it. Share what you are thinking too. Enjoy the conversation—what do you both notice? What do you wonder? At the end of your time together, what did you discover?

Where can you do these amazing things? Your kitchen is a great home place for all kinds of science. Our island is rich in many different kinds of natural and man-made habitats…from the mountains to the sea. Get outside and adventure those senses out in the field. What kinds of living things are there? How do they live there? We encourage a polite respect for all living things when we visit them in their habitat. We are so lucky to have many different beach parks but also city and state parks up towards the mountains. How do people help care for these areas? At end of your visit, helping to pick up some of the people rubbish is a super simple and effective way to take action and make a difference. Mahalo!

Bev Kutsunai