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Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke

Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke

In working one learns

MA KA HANA KA ʻIKE. #2088*
In working one learns.

When I learned to kuʻi kalo (pound taro into poi), there was not a lot of explanation. I watched as the uncles and others in our group prepared the buckets and butter knives, dipping their hands in cold water before grabbing the kalo (taro) from the pressure cooker to begin cleaning. Learning quickly that I would not receive a straight answer to any question I could ask, I jumped in and followed along, taking whatever direction was given. After a brief demonstration, I was allowed to approach the board, given the pōhaku kuʻi ʻai (a stone used to pound taro), and handed a few pieces of kalo that had been cooked, cleaned, and cut. As I began to kuʻi, I learned quickly that striking the kalo too hard at the beginning causes it to fly across my board, and I struggled, quite literally, to figure out why the ʻai (taro) was sticking so much to everything in spite of how much water I was adding to my pōhaku. Suffice it to say that I went home with puʻupuʻu (lumps) in my poi that day. Over time and without even noticing it, I became accustomed to the sound of the pressure cooker and smell of kalo as it finished cooking, the feel and motion of the pōhaku with each stroke, and the consistency of the ʻai when it is ready for me to begin adding water. [Doing so prematurely can make things particularly challenging, as I had previously discovered.] Though it took time, I had learned more about kuʻi kalo by experiencing it with all of my senses than I could have ever learned from a book. This is ma ka hana ke ʻike. 

Ma ka hana ka ʻike (through doing one learns) is the ʻōlelo noʻeau for the current day educational term “experiential learning”. While books, lectures, and even educational videos are incredibly valuable, amazing sources of knowledge, there is nothing that can take the place of learning through action. This process takes time, attentiveness, humility, reflection, and persistence. It requires us to push through the discomfort and to rely on our naʻau (gut, mind, heart) and community to guide and journey with us. It is not easy; however, what we gain is significant. Entering in and experiencing the process allows us to learn with our whole selves, and not just our eyes and minds. All of our senses are sharpened and begin to engage as we learn to listen well both to one another and to our own intuition. 

Inquiry

  • In what ways do “book learning” and “experiential learning” differ? How are both valuable?
  • How might my understanding of kalo farming be different if I had never stepped into a loʻi?
  • What did it take to complete the task given to us? What did we learn? 
  • How might the ʻōlelo noʻeau, “Ma ka hana ka ʻike,” apply to my own learning experiences? Have I seen examples of this in my own educational journey, both in and out of the classroom? 
  • What type of learning do we typically see in the classroom? How might we shift or reimagine the learning experiences we offer to students like yourselves? What benefits might come from those changes?

Vocabulary

  • Laulima: Cooperation, joint action. Literally: many (400) hands
  • Hana: To work or to do something
  • ʻIke: To see, know, feel, recognize, experience, understand
  • Kuʻi ʻai / Kuʻi kalo: The process of pounding kalo into poi
  • Pōhaku kuʻi ʻai: Stone used to pound taro
  • Kuʻi: To strike
  • ʻAi: Kalo; food; To eat
  • Puʻupuʻu: Lump(s)
  • Naʻau: Gut; mind; heart
  • Kuleana: Responsibility, privilege, authority

Mele

Mele Wai

Mele Wai Words

Lā, ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Punawai, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

Lā, ʻŌpua, Ua, Kuahiwi, Wailele, Kahawai, Punawai, Inu wai, Kahawai, Wailele, Kuahiwi, Ua ʻŌpua, Lā

 

Hoʻokuaʻāina has not written and does not have the rights to this mele.

Mele Wai Vocabulary
  • : Sun
  • ʻŌpua: Puffy, billowy cloud
  • Ua: Rain
  • Kuahiwi: Mountain
  • Wailele: Waterfall
  • Kahawai: Stream
  • Punawai: Freshwater spring
  • Inu wai: To drink water

Hoʻokuaʻāina did not compose and do not have the rights to this mele.

Reflection Questions

  • As you learn the mele, how do we see the ʻōlelo noʻeau, Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke, reflected? 
  • How does this mele help strengthen your understanding of the movement of wai (freshwater) in our islands?

Possible Extension Activities

Kilo (Observations)
Using as many senses as possible, what do you notice about the ʻāina (including fresh and saltwater resources) in your area? Record these items in our Kilo Journal or in a notebook and track them over time.
  • What plants and animals are growing? What do they sound, smell, and feel like (as appropriate)? Do they change at different times of the day or year?
  • When does it rain? What does the rain look, sound, smell, feel, and taste like? Are there different types of rains that I notice? What are their characteristics? Where and when do the clouds gather? Are there different types of clouds that come around at different times of the day or at different times of the year?
  • What do our streams, rivers, and springs look like? Do they change over time? What does the rain look, sound, smell, and feel like?
  • What is happening in the ocean? What do you see, smell, hear, feel (and taste if appropriate)? Does the activity (waves, animals, limu, etc.) change at different times of the day or year? Are there different types of fish, limu, or other animals present at different types of the year?
Laulima ʻOhana Challenge
Choose a task each week to complete together as an ʻohana. This could be cooking together, cleaning the yard, planting, or volunteering in the community. The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that you have a task and that you work together to complete it. At the end, spend time in reflection together:
  • What were you able to accomplish together?
  • Take time to express appreciation for each person. What are the positive things they did or what did you notice about how they performed certain tasks that you want to highlight? Spend time thanking and/or encouraging one another.
  • What were the areas of challenge? How did you overcome them or how might you overcome them in the future?
Laulima Puzzle
Preparation: Print out a large picture, dividing it into puzzle pieces. Depending on the size of your picture and of each puzzle piece, you can sort the pieces so that each individual receives a piece or so that each pair or small group receives a piece. Be sure students do not see the “big picture” until the very end. Pass out each puzzle piece and have the individual or pair decorate the puzzle piece. Have the students bring all the pieces together to create the puzzle Once they can see the “big picture,” have students reflect on:
  • The importance of individual kuleana: Why is each puzzle piece important? What would happen if a piece was missing? What would happen if all pieces were the same?
  • The importance of coming together: While each piece individually is beautiful, why is it significant to come together at the end?
  • The ʻōlelo noʻeau & process: How does this process reflect the ʻōlelo noʻeau, Ma ka hana ka ʻike?
English/Language Arts or Social Studies
Sketcher Have students draw a picture that reflects what “Ma ka hana ka ʻike” means to them. Then, in one or more paragraphs, they will either:
  • Explain their sketch
  • Write a creative story to match their drawing
  • Write an argumentative essay that connects with their drawing and the ʻōlelo noʻeau
Concept Board Have students reflect on their experience with Hoʻokuaʻāina and the lesson, “Ma ka hana ka ʻike,” by creating a visual representation that includes the following:
  • Subtitle
  • Picture
  • Summary
  • Application
  • Question
Kuʻi Kalo
  • Prepare kalo to be eaten by cooking and cleaning.
  • Cut kalo
  • Kuʻi
  • Enjoy
Stages of Ku'i Kalo

Download Our Stages of Kuʻi Worksheet

Kapalai Kitchen
Try some of these other great recipes: Kapalai Kitchen
  • Math: Measure ingredients, making adjustments with correct proportions if cooking more or less than what is shared. Given how much of each type of food (kalo, kale, lettuce, etc.) you eat in a given week, calculate the amount of food you need to plant to be able to have enough of that item to satisfy your needs.
  • Science: Study fermentation of poi. Do taste tests and observations. How does it change from one day to another? What are the effects on your gut biome and overall health? Compare it with other fermentation processes, such as kimchee and sauerkraut.
  • English: Design videos or blog entries with pictures sharing your own culinary creations.
  • Social Studies: Consider the statement, “Our food systems determine our social systems.” Create an argumentative essay, constructed response, or video addressing the following questions: Is there truth to this statement? How would we evaluate our current food and social systems? What practical things can you do to improve them? What impacts could this have on Hawaiʻi and the world?
Hana Noiʻi - Wai (Research - Wai)
Learn the traditional names of the wai (clouds, rains, springs, streams, waterfalls, etc.) in your area. Why did our kupuna give them those names? What do those names teach us about the characteristics of those forms of wai? Use old maps to find the streams and springs in your area. If it is safe to do so, go and visit them. Are they healthy? Are they thriving? Why or why not? How can we tell? Are there things we can do to make them more healthy? If it is not safe to visit these areas, ask yourself why. What has happened to make it unsafe? Can or should this be changed? Do some research. Are there any freshwater-related environmental issues in your community (i.e. diverting water, fuel leaks, etc.) Contact your local government officials to share your concerns. For information relating to KAILUA, click here. Science: Study the water cycle and the ways you see it operating in your area. If you are able to go and visit different places (streams, springs, etc.), go and kilo (observe) at different times of the day or year. Take notes on what you see, smell, hear, feel, including things like water quality, turbidity, etc. Track these things throughout the year. English: Create poems or short stories about what you have learned about wai from your research, using traditional names and their characteristics. Write an argumentative essay about the importance of caring for and stewarding our freshwater resources. Social Studies: Use primary and secondary source documents to conduct research on the freshwater in your area. Reflection Questions
  • How do those activities strengthen your connection with wai?
  • How do these connections strengthen your overall health and the health of ʻāina?

*Pukui, M. K., & Varez, D. (1983). ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian Proverbs & poetical sayings. Honolulu, Hawai’i: Bishop Museum Press.

Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

visit us

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734

mail

P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

follow us

Hookuaaina Rebuilding Lives From The Ground Up

Hoʻokuaʻāina is located in the ahupuaʻa of Kailua at Kapalai in Maunawili on the island of Oʻahu.

For more information about our programs or how you can get involved please contact us.

visit us

916E Auloa Rd.

Kailua, HI 96734

mail us

P.O. Box 342146

Kailua, HI 96734

email us

Reach Us At:

info@hookuaaina.org

follow us

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Site By Created By Kaui

Hoʻokuaʻāina is a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization

© Hoʻokuaʻāina 2020 All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions | Privacy

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