O‘ahu Environmental Science Series

O‘ahu Homeschool Science Series

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

Hawai‘i Nature Center offers an on-campus science series with each class that build upon each experiential 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 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. 

View & Download the 2023 Course Outline
View & Download the 2024 Course Outline

Spring 2024 O‘ahu Homeschool Science Series | For Ages 6 to 11

Registration is closed.
January 17 – May 8, 2024 | Weekly on Wednesdays from 8:30 am (drop-off as early as 8:15 am) to 2:30 pm
Full Semester: $1,375 (all 16 weekly classes) | Individual weekly classes are not available for purchase
No class will be held on March 20th due to Nature Adventure Camp.

If sold out, please contact homeschool@HawaiiNatureCenter.org to be wait-listed for the series. Include the number of children you wish to enroll and best contact number.

Registration is closed.

Spring 2024 Lessons Overview

January 17 – May 8, 2024. No classes will be held on March 20 due to Nature Adventure Camp.

January 17: Kamani Tree Week: Science of Forests
This first introductory lesson is all about getting to know each other, the Hawai’i Nature Center, and our Makiki Valley Forest. We will take an exploratory hike up into the valley, learn about the native Kamani tree, define a forest ecosystem, and learn about forests around the world.
January 24: Red-Whiskered Bulbul Week: Science of Seeds
Fruit-eating birds play an important role in the continuation of Hawaii’s forests. Explore seed dispersal methods and introduced bird species that are replacing extinct native dispersers. Learn the life cycles of plants and plant our own seeds to observe.
January 31: Sandalwood Week: Science of Watersheds
Field Trip to Tantalus – Venture to Tantalus State Park to learn about watersheds from a great viewpoint and then conduct a scientific experiment to understand their importance. More watershed demonstrations and activities on campus.
February 7: Kāhuli Week: Science of Stewardship
Learn why we care about forests. As a wrap-up to our forest unit, we think about all the things forests provide for us and other living organisms- from shelter to medicine. We discuss Hawaiian forest changes, extinct or endangered organisms, and brainstorm ways to protect these ecosystems.
February 14: Hammerhead Shark Week: Science of Currents
Ocean species such as whales, turtles and sharks use currents as highways. This week, we’ll discuss currents’ importance to ocean animals and their role in a warming world. We’ll also cover the biology and apex predator status of the hammerhead shark.
February 21: Brain Coral Week: Science of Reefs
Coral reefs are some of the most ecologically diverse habitats on earth. Explore their structure, study coral’s symbiotic relationships and consider complex coral reef food webs. Learn how scientists measure coral health and assess threats.
February 28: Pāo'o Week: Science of Tidepools
Venture to Sandy Beach Park – Blennies, or Pāo’o, are fish species uniquely adapted to tidepool life – so much so, that Hawaiians had a saying: “He is a Pāo’o, there is no tidepool he cannot enter.” Study tidepool life’s adaptations for thriving in a harsh environment.
March 6: Mahimahi Week: Science of Fishing
People worldwide fish from the ocean for sustenance. Examine sustainable and unsustainable fishing practices, impact of overfishing and learn about Hawai’i’s highly fished species to promote sustainable consumption.
March 13: Ruddy Turnstone Week: Science of Weather
The Ruddy Turnstone is a common avian visitor to Hawai’i from Asia or North America. This week, we will study migration’s impact on birds as weather challenges their journey. We’ll understand weather formation, bird adaptations, and potential future changes.
March 27: Microbe Week: Science of Soils
Find out what soi is and why its health is beneficial for all of us. Learn all about soil microbes and their fundamental role in nutrient recycling and energy storing.
April 3: ʻAe Week: Science of Lava Flows
The hardy ʻae fern is one of the first species to recolonize after the cooling of lava. This lesson is about the process of ‘succession’ where one habitat type (a lava field) is gradually colonized and turned into another (Hawaiian forest). Study volcanic eruptions, lava formation, land changes after cooling, and rocks, minerals, and roots.
April 10: Hawaiian Cave Cricket Week: Science of Underground Areas
Discover what thrives in the dark on a field trip to caves, underground waterways, lava tubes and other dark places that serve as a critical habitat for lesser-known plants and animals. Learn all about these hidden places and aquifers, hidden streams and more.
April 17: Wild Boar Week: Science of Invasive Species
How many of the species in Hawai’i are native and how many are introduced? What’s the difference between an introduced and an invasive species? Why did people bring some of the more common pests to the islands in the first place? We tackle these questions and others as we learn about invasive plants and animals.
April 24: Mōlī Week: Science of Marine Debris
Field Trip to Hūnānāniho – The Mōlī, or Laysan Albatross, is affected by the presence of marine debris. Learn about marine debris, pollution differences, plastic consequences, and how we must do our part to make a difference.
May 1: ʻUhu Week: Science of Warming
Global warming threatens life as we know it including Hawaii’s coral reefs. Examine global warming, greenhouse gas, climate, planet’s ecosystems, coral bleaching, ocean acidification and stewardship.
May 8: Great Maui Crake Week: Future Science
Student identify themes from the 15-week course, and self-reflect and identify their role. They will also define science and brainstorm science’s role in the future including re-wilding’s possibilities and dangers.

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 enrollment is canceled 7 days or more prior to the program’s start, you will receive a refund less a $100 cancellation fee per child and associated administrative-processing fees. If enrollment is canceled within 7 days of the program’s start or up to 6 weeks after the program has begun, Hawai`i Nature Center will refund 50% of the program fee per child. HNC memberships purchased during enrollment will not be refunded. There are no refunds after the end of the sixth week of the program. No refunds or makeups for individual classes missed.

THIRD-PARTY REGISTRATION POLICY  Hawai`i Nature Center does not accept third-party registration or registration 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, 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.


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