Earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, oh my!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012
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Earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, oh my!

Even though they were very young at the time, many of Waimea Country School’s fourth, fifth, and sixth graders still have some recollections of the Oct. 15, 2006 earthquake which hit North Kohala. Most of them have also seen the tsunami damage that was done to Anaehoomalu Bay’s fishpond on Mar. 11, 2011. These real life experiences make the class’s study of earth sciences very tangible and relevant.

Lately, Laurel Matsuda’s class has been having a blast (literally) learning about volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis from a variety of sources. First, the students gathered traditional information from print and media sources. Then they built their own clay model volcanoes, filled them with baking soda and vinegar, and tried to predict where the “lava” would flow.

During Onizuka Science Day in Hilo in January, they watched UH geology professor Steve Lundblad demonstrate simulated vertical and lateral explosions of a volcano and simulations of the effects of gas levels in magma. Dave Carvalho from the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes came to the students’ classroom in Waimea to show the kinds of damage earthquakes and tsunamis can do and to give the students some information about personal safety during that kind of event.

To cap off their earth sciences unit, Matsuda’s class took a two-day, overnight trip which included touring Lava Tree State Park, Ahalanui Park, and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The students visited many different areas and learned from videos, exhibits, displays, hikes, exploring and swimming, and talks given by the scientists and rangers.

Matsuda said, “I strive to make my classroom a fun, interesting, and exciting place to learn, but there is no substitute for getting students out into the real world, where they can see, feel, and experience our island’s volcanism and learn from real scientists, like Janet Babb at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.” Sixth grader, Sofia Peterson said, “I never knew that lava could make a shell around the trees and burn the inside.”

“At Waimea Country School, we know that travel study is important for building strong connections between what students learn in the classroom and what they experience in the real world. These hands-on experiences create valuable lessons that are meaningful, and the learning deepens,” explained Head of School Amy Salling.

HPA Ohana Night to focus on energy

Dr. Bill Wiecking, director of the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, will present Energy In and Out: How to Capture and Conserve Energy in Your Home during the school’s next Ohana Night at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 14 at the Energy Lab.

The event is free and open to the public. Families will bring a list of home appliances to aid in calculations and will take home sketches of home systems.

Wiecking, who was intimately involved with the development and design of the Energy Lab at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, teaches AP Environmental Science and Green Technology II at the school. He is a frequent presenter at Macworld and at conferences focusing on wireless networks and educational technology. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including Apple Distinguished Educator, GTE GIFT Fellow, Tandy Technology Scholar, and the HPA Ellbogen Meritorious Teaching Award.

Ohana Night at the Energy Lab, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month, provides hands-on learning opportunities for families in the areas of energy and water conservation, energy generation, water clarification, zero waste, food sovereignty, and green chemistry.

Future Ohana Night at the Energy Lab events will feature:

Wednesday, Apr. 11: Angela Kang, Hawaii County Recycling Specialist, will present Zero-Waste Your Home and Office. Families will make an alkaline battery capture bucket or sew a reusable bag.

Wednesday, May 9: Deacon “Dr. Beachcomb” Ritterbush, Ph.D., will present Connecting to Nature Through Beachcombing. Participants are encouraged to bring sea treasures for Dr. Beachcomb to identify. Families will create beachcombing art. For more information, please contact Koh Ming Wei at 808-881-4266 or [email protected].

Parker School’s fifth grade
gets wordy

Last week, Parker School fifth graders showed up at school wearing mysterious outfits representing various secret vocabulary words. They then had to guess which words their classmates’ costumes could possibly be describing. The day culminated in a vocabulary parade so the other classes could see the elaborate costumes and try to solve the vocabulary mysteries.

John Colson returns to HPA

Hawaii Preparatory Academy Headmaster Lindsay Barnes announced today that a man known and admired by many in the HPA community will return to the school that he served in numerous capacities for 23 years. John R. Colson, most recently the principal at Waimea Middle School, has been named HPA’s Acting Director of Development. Colson will assume his new duties on March 1.

Colson joined HPA in 1979 as a counselor and coach and taught at the school for 11 years before being named headmaster in 1991, a position he held until 2003.

Waimea families invited to meet interim principal

Families of Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School sixth through eight grade students are invited to one of four meet-and-greet coffee hours to introduce the school’s new interim principal Lydia Trinidad.

The coffee hours will be from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday Mar. 6 and Wednesday Mar. 7. Families are asked to come to the school office to be directed to the meeting room. No RSVP is requested.

Lydia Trinidad was recently appointed interim principal of WMS by Hookakoo Corporation, which serves as the not-for-profit local school board for both Waimea and also the public conversion charter school, Kualapuu Elementary on Molokai, where Trinidad has served as principal for the past 15 years.

Mrs. Trinidad was asked to support WMS through its leadership transition as a search is beginning for a new principal for the middle school. She brings experience as a public conversion charter school leader. She began her schooling at Kualapuu Elementary, and after graduating from Molokai High School, earned a teaching certificate from UH-Manoa and a Masters in Education Administration at Columbia University’s Teachers College. After several years of teaching including seventh and eighth grades, she returned to her alma mater and led the school through the transition to becoming the state’s second public conversion charter school under Hookakoo Corp.

“We viewed becoming a charter school as an opportunity for deep restructuring to better serve our children, 90 percent of whom are native Hawaiian, and it also seemed to be a way to be more innovative and find quicker solutions to improve student learning,” she said.

Mrs. Trinidad’s role at WMS is expected to run through the end of the current school year, when she will return to her Molokai elementary school.

For information about the coffee hour, call the school office at 887-6090 Ext. 222.

HPA students head to state fair

Eight middle school students from Hawaii Preparatory Academy qualified to participate in the 55th Hawaii State Science & Engineering Fair scheduled Apr. 2 through 4 at the Hawaii Convention Center . The students’ projects were selected during the 2012 Hawaii District Science & Engineering Fair held at the Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii Feb. 11.

Receiving Hawaii District Awards and a travel award to Oahu are Will White (Plants and Wastewater Treatment Byproduct), Kai Miller (UV Penetration), Tyler Alt (Measuring the Toxicity of Waimea Department of Water Supply’s Sludge), Elizabeth Jim (Feeding Preference of Acanthaster planci-First Place in Junior Division and Best in Category-Animal Sciences), Holly Kaapu (Ocean Thermal Electric Mania), Sidney Vermeulen (How Much Should You Be Paying for Sunglasses?), Kristen Nielsen (Crown-of-Thorns-Best in Category-Environmental Management), and Amber Rogers (Miconia: The Beastly Beauty).