Ka Hoʻokele ʻAna – Navigation

Activity at a Glance:
Students will start off with an imagery activity in an attempt to bring the outside environment into the classroom. They will learn and see visuals that will take them through a day in the life of a navigator. Group movement activities to teach and reinforce the four cardinal directions will be a highlight of the lesson.

Grade 4  |   Time: 1 hour   |  Curriculum Download

Developed by Kamehameha Schools

  • Learning Objectives
  • Students will:
    • Describe how navigation contributes to the preservation of Hawaiian culture.
    • Identify three natural navigational clues used to find islands.
    • Learn the four cardinal directions (N, S, E, and W) in English and Hawaiian (ʻĀkau, Hema, Hikina, and Komohana).

    Hawaiʻi Content Standards:
    Content Area: Social Studies Grade: 4

    Standard 6: Cultural Anthropology: SYSTEMS, DYNAMICS AND INQUIRY
    Understand culture as a system of beliefs, knowledge and practices shared by a group and understand how cultural systems change over time.

    Big Idea(s) / Major Understanding (s): Students will understand that …
    Cultural change and continuity can be seen and understood through primary and secondary resources

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Benchmarks
  • 4.6.1 Cultural Systems and Practices
    Explain how language, traditional lore, music, dance, artifacts, traditional practices, beliefs, values and behaviors are elements of culture and contribute to the preservation of culture.

    1. Incorporate cultural traditions, language, history, and values in meaningful holistic processes to nourish the emotional, physical, mental/ intellectual, social, and spiritual well-being of the learning community that promote healthy mauli (life spirit) and mana (power bestowed directly or indirectly from a supernatural source; an inherent quality of command and leadership; authority).
    2. Maintain practices that perpetuate Hawaiian heritage, traditions and language to nurture one’s mauli and perpetuate the success of the whole learning community.
    3. Sustain respect for the integrity of one’s own cultural knowledge and provide meaningful opportunities to make new connections among other knowledge systems.
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Materials Needed
    1. Micronesian Star Compass model or graphic
    2. Hawaiian Star Compass model or graphic
    3. Cardinal Direction Cards (N,S,E,W) in Hawaiian/English
    4. Navigation Graphics (Sun, Moon, Stars, Birds, Clouds)
    5. CD player w/extension cord
    6. CD w/navigational clue sound clips
    7. Blindfolds (15)
    8. Hawaiian Value Placard – Hilinaʻi (Trust)
    9. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau Placard – Mai ka hoʻokui i ka hālāwai. (#2059)
    10. Blue Navigation Tarp w/gridlines or using masking tape or rope, create gridlines on classroom floor
    11. Students will need colored markers for Navigation Grid Activity.

    Student Handouts:

    1. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, Waiwai Hawaiʻi, and Nā Huaʻōlelo Hou ( New Vocabulary) cover page
    2. The Navigational Grid worksheet
    3. Environmental Navigational Clues worksheet
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Teacher Background
  • Trusting in their keen observation skills, Polynesians of old were able to find and settle our homeland of Hawaiÿi. Traditional navigators used celestial clues – the lä (sun), mahina (moon), hōkū (stars) and hōkū hele (planets) – to guide their voyaging canoes. Navigators were also able to read the weather and the ocean environment. They observed the sequence of cloud formations. They could determine wind direction and strength. They noted the changing patterns of ocean swells. All this information was needed in order to set a safe course for their double-hulled sailing canoes.

    Daily progress was monitored in two ways. Navigators made mental marks in their minds and physically tied knots on a rope to keep track of the number of days they were
    at sea.

    A day in the life of an ancient navigator started off with the rising of the sun. When the sun got too high, it was no longer a good source of direction, so the ocean swells were
    relied upon. So attuned was the navigator to his environment that he could visually read and feel the direction of three to five swells as they pitched and rolled the canoe. During
    the middle of the day, it was these ocean swells that enabled him to set the course of their travel. Later in the day, as the sun started to set, the navigator once again picked up the sun as a clue for direction. At night, he was guided by the moon, stars, planets and ocean swells until the sun rose again. Such was a typical day at sea for an ancient navigator.

    As voyagers neared land, they expanded their visual sight of landfall in several ways. They noted the flight patterns of land-based birds, the types of fishes being caught,
    seamarks and the kinds of debris seen floating in the water. They also observed cloud formations and cloud color.

    Land-based birds such as the manu o kū (fairy tern) and noio (noddy tern) were especially helpful in spotting land because they had a pattern of flying out to sea in the morning to gather food for their chicks, and then returning to land in the afternoon to feed them. If a navigator sighted one of these terns in the morning, he would observe where it was coming from. If he saw this bird in the afternoon, then he would look towards where it was going. In both situations, sighting the manu o kü or the noio meant that land was near. Practicing the values of mālama (to care for), hōʻihi (respect) and laulima (working together cooperatively) were key elements to the survival of our ancestors and our native culture

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email