View of Honolulu From the Harbor

Teaching With Primary Sources Program Reaches All 50 States

Hawaii Workshop - BoatAs the TPS and MSU Denver program continues to grow and make a large impact on the nation’s educators, a significant milestone has been achieved – we have now extended our reach to all 50 states with the two most recent workshops in Hawaii!

The first workshop, entitled E Noi’i Kākou (Let’s Inquire), on August 29 and 30th, 2015 was held at the Chaminade University of Honolulu. The focus of the workshop was leveraging primary sources on Pacific voyaging in support of STEM learning. Though the majority of teachers taught science, they were pleased to learn how similar primary source inquiry was to teaching STEM.

Peggy O’Neill-Jones, who lead the discussions at Chaminade, was impressed with how science teachers recognized the seamless integration of primary sources for STEM learning, “Approaching primary sources through historical thinking is very similar to approaching those same sources through STEM. Finding a common ground between social studies and the sciences came naturally, and they found that the Stripling Model of Inquiry paralleled the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) perfectly.”

Hawaii Workshop - Small boatTeachers at the workshop were also looking forward to using the Waldseemuller activity in their own classroom. Breaking up large images or maps into small sections helps students key in on the fine details and helps them utilize their critical thinking skills. Another teaching strategy that attendees were anxious to use in their own classroom was the Question Formulation Technique from the Right Question Institute. Whether it be Social Studies or Science, improving understanding starts with getting students to ask good questions.

For the second day of the E Noi’i Kākou workshop, teachers ventured out in the Pacific in canoes at the Kanoa Beach Park and used traditional navigation methods. Using primary sources as they would have been used in history is a great way to learn about historical context first-hand.

The second workshop, entitled Kumu Waiwai: Teaching from the Source, was led by Michelle Pearson and held at the University of Hawaii West Oahu on the weekend of September 18, 2015.

Teachers at West Oahu were truly impressed with the power of the RQI QFT, and in particular how it allowed them to “take a deeper dive into their thoughts around Hawaiian content,” mentions Pearson, “We had some rich discussions surrounding Hawaiian resources and the need for folklore resources in music, art, and text.”

Likewise, teachers were happy to discuss the HABS collection based on connecting STEM resources and the National Parks to possible discussions around places and historical resources in the state. They were interested to hear all of the wonderful places to acquire Hawaii specific primary sources that they would be able to use in their own classrooms.

“Finally,” Pearson says, “it was GREAT to meet with professors and pre-service educators to discuss the resources of the Library of Congress in a pre-workshop evening talk that gave a broad overview, and also some one-on-one research time for specific content areas. The pre-service teachers were really engaged and were happy to explore the resources in the LOC. Many spent time afterwards discussing integration ideas and the like.”

Ultimately, connecting primary sources with teaching STEM to middle and high school students, the QFT, and the excitement of pre-service teachers to integrate primary sources in their lesson plans made the trip to Hawaii beneficial and thought-provoking for the both the educators and TPS at MSU Denver. The hope for the future is that students will look to primary sources for inspiration. Primary sources don’t just provide a window into the past, they allow unfiltered access to historical context, contrasting perspectives, and help nourish original thought.

The beautiful scenery and temperate weather didn’t hurt either.


*Featured Image “View of Honolulu” Credit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.