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PRISM Mission

The Partnerships for Reform through Investigative Science and Mathematics (PRISM) GK-12 Program is a unique partnership between the Hawai╩╗i Island Department of Education (HIDOE) and the University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo (UHH). This collaboration will bring together the science-content knowledge of faculty and graduate students (PRISM fellows) of the UH Hilo Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences (TCBES) Masters Program with the teaching skills of lead teachers in K-8 schools on the island of Hawai╩╗i. The program is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

Several keiki's race their plankton at the PRISM exhibit at the Waimea keikifest
Students race plankton at the Waimea Keikifest

A central goal of PRISM is to improve the interest and performance of Hawai╩╗i K-8 students in math and science. This goal is addressed through the creation of investigative, standards-based curricula in science, math, and technology that are both relevant and accessible to Hawai╩╗iÔÇÖs rural student population. Through the creation of new curricula and the modification of existing hands-on lessons, each teacher-fellow partnership will produce an enhanced curriculum module that demonstrates science in Hawai╩╗i. Current modules include activities on the sandy shoreline, the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, the open ocean, coral reefs, insects, genetics, and adaptations, as well as several other important concepts, ecosystems, and specific animals. Lessons within these modules are designed to bring the students in touch with the environment and how science helps us to discover and investigate the world around us.

The lessons learned through the development of partnerships among PRISM teachers and fellows will be evaluated through formative and summative assessments and posted online. UH Hilo and HIDOE have also partnered with the experienced program staff from the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California Berkeley, and the Science and Math Education Resource Center in Washington D.C.

Native Plants
Students growing native plants for an outplanting project
Data Collection
Student collects data while observing wildlife