Scientific inquiry lab fieldtrips

HIMB has four inquiry based lab fieldtrips designed for high school science classes and groups. They are also appropriate for early undergraduates and non-science majors. Students work in teams to develop and test their own hypotheses on one of the following topics:

Ocean Acidification using coral skeletons and manipulating seawater pH with carbon dioxide gas to measure the effects on water hardness and calcium carbonate dissolution (year round). Limited to 36 students per visit. Download the lesson.

Marine Bioacoustics using hydrophones to listen and analyze the sounds of invertebrate interactions (year round). Limited to 36 students per visit. Download the lesson.

Sea Urchin Fertilization using collector urchins to test the effects of water quality on fertilization success and embryonic development (seasonal, please check availability). Limited to 36 students per visit. Download the lesson.

Marine Neuroethology using marine invertebrates to produce ethograms and examine the mechanics of animal behavior (seasonal, please check availability). Limited to 24 students per visit. Download the lesson.

Coral Growth and Survival using coral settlement tiles to examine and record how different environments influence the growth of coral polyps (seasonal, please check availability). Generally limited to 24 students per visit (please inquire about larger classes). Download the lesson.

Marine Biodiversity using Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) to record and calculate the biodiversity of the reef cryptofauna community in different environments (year round). Generally imited to 24 students per visit (please inquire about larger classes). Download the lesson.


Each lab is comprised of three sections:

Part I: First, teachers are provided with science background materials and a practice exercise that they complete with their class prior to coming to HIMB.

Part II: Next, a fieldtrip to HIMB where students will conduct their own experiments in the Marine Science Research Learning Center, including a short pre- and post- evaluation using iClicker.

Part III: Last, scientific communication in the form of discussion and lab presentations or reports done in the home classroom or as homework after the field trip.


For more information, download our brochure and waivers. To arrange a fieldtrip, teachers/educators should fill out our online inquiry form or contact us at himbed@hawaii.edu

Once a fieldtrip is confirmed, please review our visitor instructions from He‘eia Kea Small Boat Harbor or Lilipuna Pier for details relating to the day of your visit.


Next Generation Science Standards - The HIMB Science Inquiry Lab Fieldtrips are designed to explore the following scientific practices, disciplinary core ideas, and cross-cutting concepts emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Standards specific to each module are included in the appendix at the end of each lesson PDF


Science and Engineering Practices (All modules):

1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems

2. Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence

3. Engaging in Argument from Evidence

4. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

5. Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods

6. Analyzing and Interpreting Data

7. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


Crosscutting Concepts (All modules):

1. Stability and Change

2. Cause and Effect

3. Patterns


Disciplinary Core Ideas:

1. LS1.A: Structure and Function (Sea Urchin fertilization; Marine Neuroethology)

2. LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms (Sea Urchin Fertilization)

3. LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience (Marine Biodiversity; Coral Growth and Survival; Ocean Acidification)

4. LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior (Marine Bioacoustics; Marine Neuroethology; Sea Urchin Fertilization)

5. LS4.C: Adaptation (Marine Neuroethology; Marine Biodiversity; Ocean Acidification)

6. LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans (Marine Biodiversity; Ocean Acidification; Sea Urchin Fertilization)

7. HS-LS1-4 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes (Sea Urchin Fertilization)

8. HS-LS2-6 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics (ecological interactions) (Marine Biodivsersity; Ocean Acidification; Coral Growth and Survival)

9. HS-LS2-7 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics (human impacts) (All modules)

10. HS-LS2-8 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics (group behavior) (Marine Neuroethology; Sea Urchin Fertilization; Coral Growth and Survival)


Common Core State Standards Connections (All modules)::

ELA/Literacy -

1. SL.11-12.5 a. Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (HS-LS1-4)

2. RST.11-12.1 a. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account. (HS-LS2-2)

3. RST.11-12.7 a. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (HS-LS2-6)

4. WHST.9-12.7 a. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. (HS-LS2-7)

5. WHST.9-12.9 a. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (HS-LS4-4)

6. WHST.9-12.2 a. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-LS2-2)


Mathematics -

7. MP.2 a. Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-LS2-2)

8. HSN.Q.A.3 a. Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities. (HS-LS2-2)


Students listen with a hydrophone to snapping shrimp interactions during the Marine Bioacoustics Lab.

Injecting a collector urchin with potassium chloride to induce spawning as part of the Sea Urchin Fertilization Lab.