Kindergarten Project-Based Learning in the Garden!

Our kindergarteners are in the midst of a project-based learning unit on gardening. They’re learning what’s needed to create a successful garden and what plants need to thrive.

Our driving question is “How can we make our garden into a beautiful reality?”

Through many hands-on activities, learners are mapping and constructing a bird’s-eye-view picture of our orchard. They have learned to identify plants in the garden and worked together to make garden signs. We introduced learners to the insects and other creatures they will find in the garden and their characteristics.

Through a reflection and presentation process, learners will work together to make group decisions in planning a classroom garden tour for our Presentation of Learning.

Learners will review characteristics of mature produce and discover how to harvest different types of fruits. They have learned about the parts of plants and their functions and will use the garden to teach a hands-on plant-based activity at our upcoming POL.

Bubble Bonanza PBL

Mrs. Ashley’s class just finished up their latest installment of Project-Based Learning,  “Engineering Bubble Wands”. They presented their designs to the 1st and 2nd grade classes and then took them through the engineering design process, where they were given the opportunity to construct their very own wands.

They also experimented with different designs and created bubble formulas to help discover all the things bubbles can and cannot do. They wrapped up their presentation with their BUBBLE BONANZA showcase, where they took their classmates out to the field and blew them away with some of the biggest bubbles the learners have ever seen. Their Bubble Bonanza showcase was a great success for all!

Amazing Summer Camp Opportunity

While the school year is coming to a close, we’re excited to share an amazing learning opportunity for summer break.

This camp is open to learners entering grades 7-12 (for the 2019/20 school year), who will travel to the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kaua’i this July for the inaugural year of Camp Kahili!

This exciting camp offers teens the opportunity to enjoy 1-3 weeks on the island. The project-based learning curriculum is focused on STEAM, multicultural studies, and international learning. There will also be a variety of awesome excursion opportunities allowing learners to explore the island.

Camp Themes

  • Week 1: Marine Biology (July 7-13)
  • Week 2: Earth & Space (July 14-20)
  • Week 3: Engineering & Coding (July 21-27)

Tuition includes ground transportation in Kaua’i, accommodations, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, academic courses and excursions.

SPACE IS LIMITED for this camp, so please click here to learn all about Camp Kahili and register your learners today!

Kindergarten RoundUp for School Year 2019-2020

We want to welcome all our incoming Kindergarteners and their families by inviting them to attend our Kindergarten RoundUp for School Year 2019-2020 on Tuesday, April 23rd.

The Kindergarten Round-Up will be a chance for families to visit our kindergarten classrooms, learn about our program, and engage in some hands-on activities with your keiki (children). We are inviting everyone who has already applied as well as anyone interested in finding out more about our program, so please do help us spread the word about this fun event! All are welcome!

There are two different sessions to choose from to accommodate different family schedules, one from 9:30-11am, the other from 4:30-6pm.

Please RSVP Claire at, and let us know which session you will be attending so that we are prepared for your family and child.

Hands-On Science Learning

Our 5th grade class is fortunate enough to be located in the school’s science lab, and last week we took full advantage of this by having a full lab day. We studied physical and chemical changes, and in the spirit of Project-Based Learning we got our hands — and our room — dirty while experimenting with these concepts.

Learners performed experiments in which they observed chemical reactions, and cited the evidence of such a reaction. They created and observed gas bubbles, color change, change of state, heat creation, and more. We love learning in an environment which allows us to experience concepts, rather than just reading about them. This gives context to our learning, and it’s just plain fun!

Project-based Learning in First & Second Grade

Miss Kim and Miss Megan have begun their second unit in Project-Based Learning. First and second graders are learning about the world through their explorations with “Flat Stanley,” our literacy guide, a character from a series about a boy who was flattened and travels the world. Each child has the opportunity to send their own Flat Stanley to someone they know in another state or country, with a letter of their own composition. Learners get to choose where they send their Flat Stanley and which countries they want to learn about. Flat Stanley will then be sent back to the learner with a letter about the place he visited.

This project is a fun way for our learners to explore the world and discover different places through inquiry and interaction. We encourage first and second grade families talk to their kids at home about the country of their choosing and explore with them the locations that they are learning about.

Our learners will also be doing independent, hands-on projects that help them reflect on the places they are studying. Miss Kim and Miss Megan’s classes are looking for materials for the learners to build with as they explore their different locations. They will have the chance to build pyramids, buildings, monuments, and other structures with the following materials. If you have any of these items to donate, please bring to the school:

  • Shoe boxes
  • Pringle cans or paper towel/toilet paper rolls
  • Cardboard
  • Foil
  • Bottle caps
  • Juice Cartons


Learning More About Project-Based Learning

Alakai’i O Kaua’i and iLEAD Schools are pleased to have Dr. Thom Markham, founder of PBL Global, visit our school this week to work with our staff on developing rigorous project-based learning (PBL) in every grade level.  

Also, there are two opportunities to hear Dr. Markham’s presentation on Project-Based Learning this Tuesday, February 5th (see times below).

He will hold a “PBL Parent University” for families interested to learn more about project-based learning at our school in the morning, and provide an evening-time option for families and community at Chiefess Middle School.

We hope you can join us during one of these opportunities to learn about the “why” behind Project-Based Learning from one of the key leaders responsible for growing effectiveness of PBL as the pathway to deeper authentic learning. For more information, please contact Linda Krystek at

Topics to be discussed will include:

  • Preparing young people to be ready for the world of 2020 and beyond
  • Developing skills as collaborators, problem solvers, design thinkers, and self-starters
  • Fostering curiosity, empathy, and resilience as core attitudes helping young people to flourish in learning and life

Presentations on PBL Tuesday, Feb. 5th:

  • 8:30-10 a.m. at the Alaka’i O Kaua’i Library
  • 5:30-7 p.m. at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School multi-purpose room 

iLEAD Students Prepare for Launch to Space Station

A team of iLEAD students is preparing to send a science experiment aboard the SpaceX-16 Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled to launch on December 4.

The project is part of a partnership between iLEAD and DreamUp, the leading provider of space-based educational opportunities. The students’ experiment, which will be on the ISS for approximately four weeks, tests whether black coffee kills a type of bacteria found in everyday plaque on teeth in microgravity in the same way it does on Earth. This launch opportunity is made possible via DreamUp’s partnership with NanoRacks and its Space Act Agreement with NASA.

Click here to read more!

And click here to watch the livestream of the rocket launch on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 1:30 p.m. EST!