Honolulu Zoo Society : Fragile Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii

Topic Overview

Begin the Lesson

This lesson will give an overview of the geography, biodiversity, and biofauna of Hawaii.


Whole Class Introduction to the Lesson

You will need at least one computer with Internet connectivity and a projection device, a classroom with more than one computer, or access to a computer lab.  This introduction will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Go to http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/lessons/vibrant-volcanoes/video-segments/5170/.  Watch the three short videos: Volcanic Views, Lava Landscapes, and Stormy Seas to see how volcanoes impact Hawaii's geography.


Sample Questions:

  • Explain how lava is a force of destruction but also creation. The lava destroys all vegetation and everything in its path yet it's creating new land.
  • What happens when lava meets the ocean? When the water and lava are trapped together in a tube, the pressure builds until the water explodes out from the tube. The steam also produces water spouts.
  • Have you ever visited a dormant or active volcano? What was it like? Answers will vary.

As part of the introduction, you may want to review some of the glossary terms in advance of students going online. At this point you can launch the WebLesson as whole-class activity using a projection device, or you can assign students to work individually or in teams in a computer lab.



WebLesson Sites
Close your eyes. Picture a chain of islands jutting out from the ocean. See the active volcanoes erupting and the lava traveling down a black mountain until it's cooled by the warm ocean waters. Listen to the roar of a waterfall deep in a mesic forest and hear the whistles of the native Honeycreepers. Smell the fresh, floral air.

Now, open your eyes and experience Hawaii.
As you travel through Hawaii learning about its geography and biodiversity, think about six things you would most like to share with your friends and family about this great state.
Lesson Pages
Conclusion & Project
Hawaii's amazing biodiversity is visible from the peak of the Big Island's Mt. Kilaueau. From here, we can see the islands steep cliffs, the mesic forests, and the wandering streams. Endemic flora and fauna are all around. You just have to open your eyes.
Imagine this WebLesson was a real trip around the Hawaiian Islands. Write six tweets (140 characters or less) about your trip to share with your friends and family who stayed home.
alohoa - Hawaiian for hello, goodbye, and I love you
anachronism - a thing belonging to a period of time other than that in which it exists
balm - something of medicinal value, ointment
beckon - to appear inviting
benign - not harmful
cataclysmic - sudden and violent physical action producing changes in the earth's surface
catastrophe - a sudden and widespread disaster
colonize - the spreading of a species into a new habitat.
diverse - varied
endemic - confined to a certain region or area
erosion - the action of wind water or other natural processes that gradually wears away soil, rock, or land.
fauna - the animals of a given region, habitat, or geologic period
flora - the plants of a given region, habitat, or geologic period
geological - the earth's physical structure and the processes that act upon it
inhabit - live in or occupy
interweaves - intermingles, connects together
intrigue - to arouse curiosity or interest
mesic - an environment or habitat containing a moderate or balanced supply of moisture
protocol - the customs and regulations
realm - a region, sphere, or domain
torrential - streaming water flowing with great rapidity and violence
weathering - mechanical or chemical processes that wear away or change the appearance or texture of rocks