Sink, Swim, or Starve

This unit will be focused on the traditional Hawaiian wa’a. The challenge will be for students to build and shape their own wa’a with the purpose of load bearing. The basic design of the unit will be: Background information, brief history of wa'a, and the Engineering Design Process. The culminating project will be having students building and shaping a model wa'a to test for load bearing.
This curriculum is still under review by faculty. Units identified as Under Review have been submitted by educators. While they are available to view now, they are currently being reviewed by our curriculum committee for addition to this site.

Standards Aligned

Other (see Unit)

Community Partner(s)


Essential Question

What can we learn from the study of the Hawaiian wa’a?

Enduring Understanding

The ancient Hawaiians were amazing engineers. 

The creation of the Hawaiian wa’a took time and precision. 

Different types of wa’a were used for different reasons

Buoyancy is the tendency or ability to float

Learner Level Elementary

Primary Content STEM, Social Studies, Engineering