O‘ahu Environmental Science Series 2023

O‘ahu Homeschool Science Series 2023

2131 Makiki Heights Drive, HNL |  808.955.0100 x126 |  homeschool@hawaiinaturecenter.og

Hawai‘i Nature Center offers a multi-week science series with each class building upon the prior lesson. Created to bring together homeschool students, ages 6 to 11, the weekly 6-hour sessions on Wednesdays are live, in-person and teacher-led. It includes on-campus learning in the Makiki rainforest as well as field trips. Incorporating State of Hawai‘i Next Generation Science Standards, the curriculum explores a broad range of topics led by environmental educators. Topics include: animal lifecycles, freshwater ecosystems, food webs, sound, electricity, colors in nature, invasive species, volcanism and more. Enroll in the discounted semester-long series.

Read & Download the 2023 Course Outline

Fall 2023 O‘ahu Homeschool Science Series (for ages 6-11)

This Program is SOLD OUT!

 August 30 – December 6, 2023 | Weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 am (drop off as early as 8:15 am) to 2:30 pm
Full Semester: $1,200 (purchase all 14 weekly classes) | Individual weekly classes are not available for purchase

No classes will be held on October 11 due to Nature Adventure Camp. If the session is sold out, contact homeschool@HawaiiNatureCenter.org to be wait-listed for the week(s) desired. Include the number of children you wish to enroll and best contact number.


Book online now!

Fall 2023 Lessons Overview

August 30 – December 6 2023. No classes will be held on October 11 due to Nature Adventure Camp.

August 30: Kalo Week - Polynesian Arrival to Hawai‘i
Our first week of the semester kicks off by focusing on kalo (or taro). This plant will act as our introduction to Makiki Valley and the Hawaiians who used to farm here. We’ll learn about the Polynesian arrival to the islands, how they survived off the land, the stories they told, and the sustainability values that formed such an important part of their culture.
September 6: Koa Week - The Science of Forests
The mighty koa tree is one of only several native trees in Hawaii. We will learn about this significant plant before jumping into the adaptations it and other species use to survive in forest ecosystems. We’ll learn about the structure of forests; how Hawaiian forests have changed with the arrival of people; and how scientists collect data on trees from measurements to biodiversity assessments.
September 13: Hawaiian Moorhen - The Science of Wetlands
Field Trip to Honouliuli – What’s a wetland and why is it one of the most important ecosystems on Earth? We’re sure the ‘alae‘ula, or Hawaiian moorhen, knows the answers to these questions! Our lesson this week takes place at Honouliuli wetland where we will explore a wetland, learn about the adaptations different organisms use to survive and listen to Hawaiian legends about the native wetland birds.
September 20: Kaua‘i Cave Wolf Spider - The Science of Caves
Caves are some of the most mysterious and fascinating habitats out there. Home to specially adapted animals and plants like the endemic Kaua‘i cave wolf spider, they can be challenging places to live. This week, we take a hike to our very own hidden cave in Makiki Valley, learn how caves are formed, talk about lava tubes and think about how organisms navigate their dark and rocky homes.
September 27: Honu Week - The Science of Oceans
Field Trip to Kuli‘ou‘ou Beach Park – The least explored ecosystem on Earth, oceans, fascinate us. Not only are they home to incredible biodiversity–like the honu–but they are necessary for our survival, too! This week, we meet over at Kuli‘ou‘ou Beach Park for a day spent learning about the oceans and some of the threats facing them. We will fish for critters, go on a coastal hike to look for native algae and listen to Hawaiian legends about marine life.
October 4: Pholiota peleae Week - A Closer Look at Decomposers
The unsung heroes of Earth’s ecosystems, decomposers like Pholiota peleae (an endemic mushroom) keep the cycles in nature going strong. This week, we’ll celebrate nature’s recyclers by learning about different kinds of decomposers, going on a decomposer scavenger hunt and lending them a hand by working in our garden and composting areas.
October 18: ‘Io Week - A Closer Look at Predators
The ‘io, or Hawaiian Hawk, is a perfect example of an apex predator with its sharp talons and hooked beak. But why exactly do we need predators in an ecosystem? What do they do? And how do they come into conflict with people? This week we study the role of predators, their adaptations and possible ways that we can learn to live with nature’s top hunters.
October 25: Kamehameha Butterfly Week - A Closer Look at Pollinators
Pollinators keep some of our favorite foods on the table and ensure that plants can continue to survive and thrive. This week, we’re celebrating pollinators by learning about one of our native butterflies: the Kamehameha Butterfly. We’ll study what pollination is, the different methods, observe pollinators in action and play some pollinator games!
November 1: Happy Face Spider Week - A Closer Look at Patterns
If you’ve ever seen a Happy Face Spider before, you have to wonder: why is it wearing a big grin on its back? Is it just permanently happy? Is it a spider fashion statement? Scientists think it’s actually a way to fool and confuse predators–much like the fake eyes on a moth! This week we learn all about the crazy patterns animals use to hide, send warnings, fool predators, scare off competition and impress mates!
November 8: ‘Elepaio Week - A Closer Look at Songs
Our flagship species for this week is the humble ‘elepaio: a brown and white forest bird that trills away in native koa patches. There are numerous reasons why birds sing and this week, we’ll explore them all and the messages they carry. We’ll learn why some birds are such good mimics, how birds learn their songs in the first place, hike to listen for serenading shama thrushes and play a bird version of karaoke!
November 15: ‘I‘iwi Week - The Story of a Disease
The bright red ‘i‘iwi was one of the species to suffer with the introduction of mosquitos. These winged pests carried a type of disease (avian malaria) from domestic birds like chickens, to our native birds. This week we learn how mosquitos got to Hawaii, all about their life cycle and their impact on our honeycreepers. We finish up by exploring ways that we can help our feathered friends and some of the awesome strategies scientists are using to combat mosquitos!
November 22: Hawaiian Crow Week - The Story of a Group
Animals may form social groups for many reasons – whether it’s to successfully raise young or better their chances at hunting. The ‘alalā, or Hawaiian Crow, is a very social species that participates in some awesome group behaviors. Our students will band together this week as we tackle several group challenges and learn about social bonds, hierarchies, predator mobbing and animal babysitters.
November 29: Haleakalā Silverswords - The Story of Climate Change
The majestic silversword plant is just one of innumerable species that is threatened by climate change. It serves as our introduction to this important topic as we learn what climate change is, what causes it, what’s changed in recent times and how we can help.
December 6: ‘Ama‘ama Week - Your Story of Sustainability
The ‘ama‘ama, or striped mullet, was one of the most important food fishes for Hawaiians and was sustainably harvested from fishponds. What does sustainability mean? What does it look like? How can you be more sustainable and why should you try? We conclude our semester by thinking about changes we can make and things we can do, to write our own story of sustainability now and into the future.

Gear Up & Get Ready

  • Eat a hearty breakfast.
  • Wear clothes and closed-toe (hiking or athletic) shoes that can get wet and dirty.
  • Put on mosquito repellent and sunscreen at home.
  • Leave anything expensive, valuable, or fragile at home.

What to Pack Daily

  • Small backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Morning snacks and a big lunch (no refrigeration)
  • Extra change of clothes, raincoat/poncho and water shoes
  • Sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • COVID facemasks (optional)

REFUND & CANCELLATION POLICY – SEMESTER  If you cancel your enrollment 7 days or more prior to the start of the program, you will receive a refund less a $100 cancellation fee per child AND associated administrative processing fees. If you cancel your enrollment for the entire program within 7 days of program start or up to 6 weeks after the program has started, we will refund 50% of your program fee per child. Memberships purchased during enrollment will not be refunded.

There are no refunds after the end of the 6th week of the program. There are no refunds or makeups for individual classes missed.

REFUND & CANCELLATION POLICY – WEEKLY If you cancel your enrollment 7 days or more prior to the start of the weekly session, you will receive a refund less a $25 cancellation fee per child AND associated administrative processing fees. Enrollment is non-refundable if for any reason if you cancel within 7 days of the first day of each weekly session. We will make every effort to reschedule the cancelled week to a later week in the semester. Memberships purchased during enrollment are non-refundable.

THIRD PARTY REGISTRATION POLICY  Hawai’i Nature Center does not accept third party registrations or registrations on behalf of other friends or family–the registering child’s parent or guardian must be the individual to complete and submit all registration information. If we determine that a third party has completed your child’s registration, your registration will be cancelled and we will refund your tuition. A $50 cancellation fee per child per week and administrative processing fees will be charged.

COVID-19 SAFETY  Keeping children, families and our staff safe is our highest priority.  Health and safety measures are in place to keep participants safe. Modifications include smaller group size to accommodate social distancing. We’ve added six feet of social distancing in our seating arrangements. Facemasks are optional. More frequent and easier-to-monitor hand washing is required. Frequent disinfecting of surfaces and high traffic areas are performed. Since our programs are outdoors, we have lots of room to spread out and enjoy the fresh air while exploring nature.


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