Hawaiʻi Island Sixth Graders Make History

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More than 500 Hawaiʻi Island sixth graders made history during the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor’s free STEM program, the Barnstorming Tour, last week.

Barnstorming Tour photos of a session at Waiakea Intermediate School. PC Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor

For two-weeks the Barnstorming Team traveled across Hawaiʻi island teaching sixth-graders from Hilo, Pāhoa and Pāhala the science behind aviation.

“Barnstorming” refers to a style of stunt piloting that was performed in the 1920s to showcase pilots’ skills and the sturdiness of the planes they flew.

The Barnstorming Tour was developed in 2008 by museum staff with educators and science advisors from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Since its inception, the program has reached over 26,000 sixth graders in their classrooms on Oʻahu, Maui, Kauaʻi and now Hawaiʻi Island.


The 90-minute curriculum uses hands-on activities that incorporate all elements of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to help students understand the scientific principles of flight, as well as introduce them to aviation and aeronautic engineering as a viable career.

“It was an amazing education experience for the students and I cannot say enough good things about this program,” said Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science Teacher Charlotte Romo. “As a teacher, I appreciate the level of organization and team work, it was perfectly orchestrated!”

“Students in this area never get opportunities like this,” said Pāhoa Elementary Teacher Channa Uyetake. “You guys (Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor) coming here is an educational experience we would have never dreamed of.”


The Barnstorming Team conducted 90-minute sessions at Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts & Science; Pāhoa Intermediate; Ka’u High & Pāhala Elementary; Ernest Bowen DeSilva; and Waiakea Intermediate, recipient of two separate visits.

Gayle Kamei, STEM Coordinator at Waiakea Intermediate said, “The fun and excitement of taking controls of a flight simulator and experiencing the miracle of flight by controlling a wing in a wind tunnel just doesn’t happen too often in a child’s life. Our sixth graders are actually learning the Laws of Physics first hand. What a unique learning experience for them.”

Costs incurred to bring the Barnstorming Tour and equipment to Hawaiʻi Island was underwritten by a $5,000 grant from Boeing.


Schools interested in having the Museum bring the free Barnstorming Tour to their classrooms should contact or call 808-441-1001.

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