The University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu hosts the Ethnomathematics Summer Institute with funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, Hawai‘i Pacific Islands Campus Compact EcosySTEM, U.S. Department of Education, and University of Hawai‘i Diversity and Equity Initiative. This allows UH mathematics faculty, staff, and students to design and implement mathematics lessons and strategies grounded in the ethnic, socioeconomic, historical, and cultural diversities of our state. To accomplish this, the institute partners with community- and research-based organizations to support current and future STEM students. Partnerships include the Hawai‘i Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Polynesian Voyaging Society, Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, Kalaupapa National Historical Park, and Mokauea Island Fishing Village. The resulting textbook is used by UH faculty and State of Hawaiʻi DOE teachers to supplement mathematics curriculum and enrich teacher training materials.
Students visit the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology’s Coconut Island to learn about natural resources, environmental conservation, and mathematics in their Hawaiian backyard. Resulting research includes: navigation calculations with geometric properties, caring for each other and mathematics in the environment, and reawakening pride in fishing traditions of culture and mathematics.
The Hōkūle‘a, “star of gladness,” is a Hawaiian voyaging canoe internationally renowned for the role it has played in rekindling the Polynesian tradition of non-instrument way-finding techniques that include celestial navigation. The Hōkūle‘a provides a vehicle to explore real-world applications of mathematics in the Hawaiian community, and represents resourcefulness, inventiveness, and wisdom.
Mokauea Island is the site of O‘ahu’s last Hawaiian fishing village, and one of only two left in Hawai‘i where hundreds of villages thrived in pre-European times. Through a values-based, experiential learning environment, students take an active role in preserving, protecting, and caring for our marine life. Students help restore the fishing village, and in the process learn about mathematical skills and the perpetuation and practice of fishing, seafaring, and maintaining healthy viable oceans.