Program Accomplishments

The RDC is committed to bridging the gap between cultural, scientific, and education communities in Hawaiʻi through programs including professional development training, school Campus Labs, and free, Hawaiʻi-based, bio-cultural curriculum. Each RDC program has been developed in-step with our stakeholders to meet the needs of the community and create reciprocal, lasting relationships.

Teacher Professional Development Workshop Series:
Developing 3D Science Units for Hawaiʻi-based Phenomenon

In Spring of 2022 the RDC partnered with Dr. Lori Andersen, an NGSS curriculum specialist with the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, to host a teacher professional development (PD) workshop series.
The main objectives of this PD were to
Build capacity for NGSS place-based science in schools through providing Hawaiʻi teachers with NGSS bio-cultural training
Establish lasting relationships between teachers, cultural specialists, and science partners
Support the collaborative development of 20 NGSS science units for grades K-12, incorporating Hawaiian culture, living research datasets, and emerging conservation research

Hawaiʻi-based, Bio-Culturally Inclusive Science Curriculum

The 20 resulting Hawaiʻi-based science units from the Spring 2022 Teacher Professional Development Workshop Series underwent additional edits and resource building, and in the fall of the 2022-2023 school year, the RDC initiated a pilot program for a limited number of science units in classrooms around the state. Pilot classrooms provide feedback to track progress and impacts of Hawaiʻi-based science curriculum. All units are now freely available as living documents, with opportunities for community supported open-source development.

Campus Science Lab Network

Our Fall 2022-2023 pilot program included the launch of the Campus Science Lab Network and community science projects. The RDC has supported the creation of 20 school campus labs by distributing science equipment, providing teacher and student training on equipment, data collection, data analysis, and citizen science partnerships. Digital support for these products is provided by the free RDC website, which houses and distributes the Hawaiʻi-based science units, connects students and science partners across the state through the data portal, and supports student research projects as a hub for resources, data entry and visualization. 

These initiatives create on-campus access to hands-on data collection and citizen science participation, while addressing access to experiential learning and professional collaboration without the financial and resource barriers that off-site field trips include. Our Campus Science Lab Network also resolves the lack of representation in citizen science by creating an inclusive network of participants.

COVID Detection Dog

Over an 8-week period starting in Spring of 2022, the students at The Volcano School of Arts & Sciences (VSAS) (Volcano/Kīlauea), Innovations (Kailua-Kona), and Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo (Keaukaha) Public Charter Schools had their masks screened for the virus by a COVID-19 scent-detection dog. Trained on a method developed by Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute with 95% accuracy, Cobra, a scent-detection canine from Innovation Detection Concepts (Redland Ahead, Inc.), and Tamar Elias, Animal Handler, will conducted weekly screenings and demonstrations during April and May 2022. Additionally, learning opportunities were offered surrounding canine scent detection science, detector dog handling and training, emotional intelligence and empathy, and animal career opportunities.