History nerds that we are, my girlfriend and I nearly always make a stop at Pearl Harbor whenever we head to Oahu for a mini-vacation. The USS Arizona Memorial, USS Missouri, Pacific Aviation Museum, USS Bowfin–we’ve seen it all, in some cases repeatedly. There’s just something compelling about touching the propellers of aircraft walking the decks of ships that saw action during World War II.
So I know exactly what the couple dozen sixth and seventh grade students from Maunaloa Elementary School on Molokai and Lanai High and Elementary School felt when they recently got a unique opportunity to learn about science and math at those very same Pearl Harbor museums and ships that we’ve visited so often.
“Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor recently hosted 27 6th and 7th graders from Lanai High and Elementary School (20 students) and Maunaloa Elementary School (7 students), plus three accompanying teachers,” stated an Apr. 8 press release from Laurie LaGrange of Ontai-LaGrange and Associates. “All travel, housing, food/beverage and curriculum expenses were paid for through a donation by Mrs. Barbara Cargill, which was secured by the Museum.”
The students learned a variety of scientific and engineering principles, such as Newton’s Third Law of Motion (“For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction”), how engineers study air flow over wings using wind tunnels, the use of aircraft control surfaces and Bernoulli’s Principle (pressure and density are inversely related on fluids in an ideal state). These students were also among the first to participate in the Pacific Aviation Museum’s new Wings to Rockets program, the news release stated.
“Wings To Rockets is a new program that combines the ‘best of the best,’” said Shauna Tonkin, Director of Education, Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, in the news release. “We’ve taken some of the most popular aviation and STEM-related activities from our education programs and combined them to create a highly interactive curriculum where all elements of science, technology, engineering and math are presented in a format that keeps students engaged. Also, by incorporating guided tours to our neighboring Pearl Harbor historic sites, they not only learn about the history of World War II, but they can see first hand the role that science and technology played during one of America’s most prolific periods of war. Being able to host students from Molokai and Lanai is an added bonus, thanks to the generosity and support we received from a private donor.”
As you’d probably expect, the kids seemed to enjoy their time at the Pearl Harbor museums. “My favorite activities were flying an airplane (through the use of a simulator) at Pacific Aviation Museum and programming robots to go into a square on the USS Missouri,” said Maunaloa Elementary School sixth grader Divine Brown-Davis. “I was really surprised at how many new things I learned and I didn’t know all of these sites were here.”
Photo: Jose Rodrigues/Picture This! Hawaii