The 8 Realms. Hawaii s Forests

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1 Hawaii s Forests Concepts How the environment affects an organism s growth and form. HCPS III Benchmarks SC SC Duration Part 1: 40 Min. Part 2: 1 Hour Source Material PRISM Vocabulary Ecosystem Environment Elevation Evaporation Leeward Organism Vegetation Zone Windward Summary Students will learn about the Hawaiian vegetation divisions that are determined by elevation, rainfall, and the dominant organisms that inhabit each. To do this students will create a posters that represents each of the Hawaiian vegetation realms by reading project cards that illustrate and describe each realm. Objectives Students will be able to describe the 8 Hawaiian divisions and what factors determine their difference. Students will be able to explain how the environment influences the presence or absence of organisms. Students will be able to describe the windward and leeward sides of an island and how it determines the environment. Materials Part 1: The 8 Hawaiian Realms Labeled Diagram, Pg. 16 (Print poster size or on transparency) Diagram/Windward, Leeward, Pg. 17 (Print poster size or on transparency) Windward vs. Leeward Diagram, Pg. 18 (Print poster size or on transparency) Ecosystem Photos/Presentation PowerPoint (print on transparency or by projector) Part 2: Project Cards Set, Pgs (1 card per student, 8 cards per set, doubles amongst class are OK) My Ecological Instruments, Pg. 15 (1 per student) Medium Sized Poster Paper (1 per student) Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils/Water Color Paint Scissors (1 per student) White letter-sized paper (1 sheet per student) Internet access for students (1 computer per student or student pair) OR Books that contain native Hawaiian plant information (see prep) Making Connections Here in Hawai i we are privileged to have so many different ecosystem types. Many of us have taken a drive around the island, and in doing so have driven through really wet climates and climates that are really dry. If you are on the Big Island, it is likely that you can see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on our journey, another type of climate. 1

2 Next time you are traveling take a look out your window; you will notice the different types of plants and animals that are found in these different areas. Watch and see how the ecosystem changes as you drive from one side of the island to the other. Teacher Prep 1. Print My Ecological Tools (3 per sheet, 1 per student). 2. PowerPoint included in lesson: Ecosystem Photos/Presentation, show examples of different ecosystems. You may either print out the presentation or show it as a presentation. 3. Print the following on poster-sized paper or on transparency, Diagram/Windward/Leeward, The 8 Hawaiian Realms Labeled Diagram, and Leeward vs. Windward Diagram. 4. Print Project Cards Set, Pgs These will be similar to baseball cards in which, you have the picture on one side and the information on the other. To do this, print page 7 on one side and page 8 on the other. Do this with the rest of the pages so that 9 and 10, 11 and 12, and 13 and 14 match up. You should end up with eight project cards that are double sided. You may want to make more than one set so that each student has his or her own card. Card doubles among students are OK. 5. Reserve computer lab or computers for student use for the day of the lesson. Students can work in pairs for this activity if computers are short. If you do not have access to computers bring in books for research. These books should contain information about native Hawaiian plants and contain pictures of these plants, as the students will need to draw them. Local and school libraries are great resources. Some books may be borrowed from PRISM. There are many native plant books available, below are some common titles that may get you started. Book List: A Hiker s Guide to Trailside Plants in Hawaii Remains of a Rainbow Hawaiian Heritage Plants Trailside Plants of Hawai i s National Parks Flowers of the Pacific Island Seashore Plants in Hawaiian Culture Plants and Flowers of Hawai i Hawaiian Coastal Plants A Tropical Garden Flora Ferns of Hawai i Background An ecosystem is a community of plants, animals, other organisms, and their environment. These organisms live, feed, reproduce, and interact in this environment. Scientists categorize these ecosystems by the amount of rainfall per year, its elevation, and the organisms that exists there. In Hawai i, the amount of rainfall of an ecosystem is a determinant of its elevation and also its position on the island. The Ko olau is a continuous wind that blows over the Hawaiian Islands 2

3 from a northeasterly direction. Ecosystems that are located on the windward side of the island (the side in which the wind blows towards) are the wet side of the island. Water that is evaporated forms clouds in the sky, the Ko olau winds blows these clouds onto and above one side of the island, and water falls as rain. The leeward sides of the Hawaiian Islands are dry as the mountain blocks clouds. Not much rain falls in this area. Vocabulary Ecosystem: A community of organisms and their environment. Environment: The surroundings or conditions where an organism lives or operates. Elevation: The position of a person, place, or thing starting at sea level. Evaporation: To turn from liquid to vapor. Leeward: The side of the island sheltered from the wind and rain toward which the wind is blowing. The dry side of the island is the leeward side. Organism: An individual plant, animal, or other living thing. Vegetation Zone: A scientific zone that is characterized by the amount of rain that falls in a year, the elevation in which it is located, and the plant species that grow there. Windward: The side of the island facing the blowing wind. The wet side of the island is the windward side. Procedure Introduction (40 Minutes) 1. Ask, Has anyone heard the terms windward and leeward? Take Answers. 2. Explain, In Hawai i there are windward and leeward sides of each island, and depending on what side of the island you are on will determine if it is wet (having high rainfall) or dry (having low rainfall). Ask, Do you think we live on the wet side or the dry side of the big island? [Wet] 3. Display Leeward Vs. Windward Diagram. Explain, The windward side of islands are wet and the leeward sides of islands are dry. Ask, Does anyone know where the dry side of the Big Island is? [Kona]. 4. Explain, Lets explore why one side is wet and the other side dry. The sun heats up water from the ocean, the water particles get warmer they become energized and move into the air (this is termed evaporation). In the air these particles rise, and as they do, they get colder (much like we would get colder driving up to Mauna Kea). The cold particles will move less and less and then move closer together, forming clouds. When the clouds get too heavy it begins to rain. Optional Activity: Have students act out evaporation as described above. Instruct students to begin sitting. Narrate, As the sun warms the water, water particles begin to wiggle Instruct students to wiggle like a warmed water particle. Narrate, The warmer it gets the faster they wiggle, then move into the air. Instruct students to wiggle faster then stand with their arms in the air. Narrate, As the water particles move higher they get colder and move less and less. Instruct students to wiggle slower. Narrate, The cold particles begin to move closer to other water particles and bond with them, forming a cloud. Instruct students to walk towards each other and hold hands with other students forming a cloud then stop wiggling all together. 3

4 4. Point to cloud on the windward labeled side of the diagram Leeward Vs. Windward Diagram. Explain, As clouds form over the ocean they are pushed toward the island by the Ko olau wind, a wind the blows over the Hawaiian Islands in a northeastern direction. Display a map of the Hawaiian Islands. With your hand show students the northeasterly direction that the Ko olau wind blows over the Hawaiian Islands. 5. Refer back to the Leeward Vs. Windward Diagram. Explain, This side (address the windward side of diagram) of the island in which the Ko olau wind blows towards, is called the windward side. Heavy clouds are blown over the land then rain falls, making this side very wet. 6. Explain, Because of the mountain, rain clouds are blocked from moving to the other side of the island, this side does not get much rain and is dryer. This side is called the Leeward side. 7. Display Windward/Leeward and Realms. Point out the Windward and Leeward sides of the island of this diagram. Explain, Because different amounts of water fall in different areas, different plants and animals live and grow in these areas; some organisms need lots of water to live and grow, while others need very little. 8. Explain, Each of these areas (refer to sections on diagram) are at different elevations, have different amounts of rain fall and have a particular set of plants and animals as compared to the other areas. These areas are termed vegetation zones. 9. Put up diagram. Explain, In ancient Hawai i the Hawaiians separated each island into large sections/realms this is different from an ahupua a which is separated by resources going from the top of the mountain down to the ocean. These sections instead are separated into the type of plants that grow there. They were able to do this because certain plants only grow in certain areas depending on the amount of rain that fall there. The Hawaiians knew where the different plants grew and gave names for these areas. 10. Read the names of the eight Hawaiian realms and have students repeat after you. 11. Explain, Like the people of ancient Hawai i, modern scientists have also divided these areas into similar sections, these sections are called ecosystems. 12. Ask, What is an ecosystem? What do you think an ecosystem is made up of? (You are looking for answers such as sun, rain, any type of animals, plants, a forest, a desert, the ocean, a place) These questions may be difficult to answer, thus hold up or project on transparency Ecosystem Photos/Presentation. Also it may help to ask students to describe what makes up an ecosystem found near your school, or even an ecosystem they are familiar with, such as a recent excursion, or the ocean they swim in. [Animals, wind, temperature, altitude, rocks, soil, plants, rain, sun, fungi, and minerals.] 13. Write these answers on the board; keep them up, as you will refer to them again. Then write all the components of an ecosystem on the board that students did not contribute (listed in brackets above). 4

5 14. Introduce the definition of an ecosystem: Ask students to write this definition in their science journal. Ecosystem: A community of organisms and their environment. As this may be a difficult definition, it may helpful to take it apart (see below). Community of organisms: All the plants, animals, and other life forms in an area. Environment: The non-living parts of an ecosystem. These include rain, rocks, soil, temperature of the air or water they are living in, sun, altitude, and wind. 16. Refer to the ecosystem descriptions written on the board. Ask, Of these which do you think are non-living and which are living? Take answers, while doing so circle all those that are living and underline to those that are non-living. This is to give students an idea of the two basic categories of an ecosystem. If students have trouble, circle one non-living component and underline one living component to get them started. 17. Explain, In Hawai i we are privileged to have so many ecosystem types. For example, we have rainforests (East Hawai i), alpine desert (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa), and dry forest (Kona). Display Diagram to illustrate. 18. Explain, In Hawai i ecosystems are described primarily by two things; rainfall and elevation. Discuss the two factors in the table below, Diagram to help illustrate elevation, and a picture of a rain gauge to illustrate for students how rainfall is measured. Factor Description How it is measured Rainfall The amount of rain that falls in an area in one year. Rainfall is measured in inches using a rain gauge. A rain gauge is a small hollow tube with measurement marks along it. The amount of rain in the rain gauge is measured every month and is Elevation How high an area is. Example: Compare the top of Mauna Kea (13,796 feet elevation) to the shore (0 feet elevation). Imagine a really large ruler that is placed at sea level (the level where land and ocean meet) and measured to the top of Mauna Kea. added up for the year. Altimeter is an instrument used to determine altitude. Ecosystem Activity (1 Hour) 1. Pass out Project Cards, 1 sheet of poster paper, and My Ecological Instruments to each student. Explain, You will each research one of the eight realms. You each received a 5

6 project card with two names written at its top, the first is the Hawaiian name of the realm and the second name that is in parenthesis is what we call these ecosystems today. 2. Explain, You will read your project card and learn about the ecosystem you have been assigned, on the back of your card is a picture of that ecosystem. Your assignment is to draw your ecosystem on your poster, draw the plants and animals you would see in this area. The organisms that live in this area are written in the information on your card. You will need to research using books or the Internet to see what these organisms look like in order to draw them onto your poster. 3. Explain, Among the information written on your card is how much rain that falls in your ecosystem in a year. On your handout titled My Ecological Instruments, there is a picture titled rain gauge and on it are little marks like a ruler, you will color this picture blue. Start from the bottom coloring up to the line that reads the number of inches of rain that falls in your ecosystem in a year. You will glue this in the upper right hand corner of your poster. 4. Explain, Another piece of information in your project card is altitude, on your handout titled My Ecological Instruments, there is a picture titled altitude and on it you will color brown up to the line that reads the measurement in which your ecosystem falls. This will also be glued on your poster, directly below the rain gauge. 5. Once this project is completed have each student stand in front of the class and show their poster, explain how high and how much rain falls in their ecosystem, and any other information they want to share about it. Optional Activity: Place students in groups of 3. Instruct students to share their posters and discuss the differences or similarities between their ecosystems. Instruct students to compare rainfall, elevation, and some organisms that live in their ecosystems. Assessments Completed Ecosystem Poster Discussion Session Literature Connection Poetry: After students have read their project card and drawn their poster, instruct students to write a poem about their ecosystem, describing it and how it would feel to be there. They can write about the plants and animals in their vegetation zone, the climate (does it rain a lot? is it really dry?). When someone reads your poem they should feel like they are there in that ecosystem. Once students have completed their posters, hand out a sheet of paper for them to write their completed poems onto. This will be glued on the back of their poster 6

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