HVNP Develops New Curriculum

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Ash rises above Halema‘uma‘u within Kīlauea’s summit caldera in this May 27, 2018, telephoto image from near Volcano House Hotel in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. By the time Kīlauea’s summit collapse events ended on August 2, Halema‘uma‘u was 2.5 km (1.5 mi) wide and 500 m (1600 ft) deep; prior to the 2018 collapses, it was about 1 km (0.5 mi) wide and 85 m (about 280 ft) deep. A segment of a long-closed Park trail is visible winding across the caldera floor (lower left). (Click to enlarge) PC: USGS photo by K. Anderson.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park has developed an educational curriculum program inspired by the eruption of Kīlauea.

HVNP announced the release of its new program, which is intended for fourth-grade students, called Hulihia Kīlauea—A Complete Change. This new program is based on the 2018 high-intensity eruption events on the island of Hawai‘i.

The three-part curriculum contains classroom portions that can be used as stand-alone activities by teachers, as well as suggestions for a field visit to the park. Each component can also be used in classrooms nationwide to help students learn about geology, volcanic landscapes and the ways communities work to recover from natural disasters, according to an HVNP press release.


This new curriculum incorporates both scientific and cultural study. While the materials have been developed for fourth-grade classes, each component can be adapted to meet the needs of other grade levels. The complete curriculum materials are available on the park’s website.

This curriculum was developed through two partnerships: Mosaics in Science and the NPS Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program. Mosaics in Science funded an 11-week internship with MyLynn Phan, a junior at the University of California, Davis. The goal of Mosaics in Science is to provide science-based internships for racially and ethnically diverse college students to increase relevancy, diversity and inclusion within the National Park Service. Through the NPS Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program, Whitney Aragaki, a high school science teacher from Hilo, designed the curriculum so that it meets both national Next Generation Science Standards and Hawaiʻi specific HĀ outcomes.

To research and develop the curriculum materials, MyLynn Phan and Whitney Aragaki interviewed both park staff and members of the local community that experienced the eruption. In addition to these first-person accounts, they used materials from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, art developed by one of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s recent artists in residence and additional park resources, the release said.


“We are excited to share this curriculum as a teaching tool for not only classrooms across the State of Hawaii, but one that can be used in classrooms nationwide,” stated Acting Superintendent Rhonda Loh. “We are grateful to all of our park partners and the many individual contributors who helped us to develop this unique interpretation of the Hawaiian experience.”

For more information on educational curricula and educational programs available for students k-12, contact Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Education Office at [email protected]. In addition to providing curricula materials, park rangers in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Education Office can schedule a field trip to the park or provide a distance learning opportunity for schools located off-island.

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