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Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States, comprises a chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. Known for its stunning natural beauty, Hawaii boasts lush rainforests, dramatic cliffs, and pristine beaches with vibrant coral reefs. Its rich cultural heritage, influenced by Polynesian, Asian, and American traditions, adds a unique flavor to its music, cuisine, and festivals. A state research project is the perfect summative activity for any U.S. Region, Geography class, or general research unit of study. Students will love learning about state landmarks, mottos, fun facts, history, and so much more! Research is an important skill for children to learn at a young age; it exposes students to expository text, gives them practice determining important information, and enhances note taking and presentation skills. Students will enjoy learning all about Hawaii, and why it is such a wonderful place to live and visit.

Student Activities for Hawaii Teacher Guide

Essential Questions for Hawaii

  1. What are some significant events in the history of Hawaii?
  2. What are some facts and features that make Hawaii unique?
  3. What are some interesting places in Hawaii that people would want to visit?

All About Hawaii

Date of Statehood: August 21, 1959

State Motto: "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

State Nickname: "The Aloha State"

State Bird: Hawaiian Goose

State Tree: Candlenut Tree

State Flower: Hibiscus

Tourist Attractions: Waikiki Beach, Haleakalā National Park, Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, Volcanoes National Park

Famous Citizens of Hawaii: Barack Obama, Bruno Mars, Jason Momoa, Bette Midler, Nicole Kidman

Capital City: Honolulu

Major Cities: Hilo, Kailua, Waipahu, Pearl City, Maui

Brief History of Hawaii

Hawaii's history is deeply rooted in Polynesian culture, with the islands first settled by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands between 300-500 AD. They established thriving communities with advanced agricultural practices and a complex social structure. Captain James Cook's arrival in 1778 marked Hawaii's introduction to the Western world, sparking increased trade in sandalwood and later whaling, which brought European and American influences that significantly impacted Hawaiian society and health.

In the early 19th century, King Kamehameha I unified the islands under a single rule, founding the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. The kingdom prospered economically through sugarcane and pineapple plantations, which attracted immigrant laborers from Asia and Europe. Hawaii's multicultural identity flourished, shaping its vibrant cultural landscape.

However, Hawaii's sovereignty was challenged in 1893 when American settlers and businessmen, backed by U.S. Marines, overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani, leading to Hawaii's annexation by the United States in 1898 and its establishment as a U.S. territory in 1900. The islands played a crucial role during World War II with the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Finally, on August 21, 1959, Hawaii achieved statehood, becoming the 50th state of the United States. Today, Hawaii thrives as a unique blend of its Polynesian heritage and diverse immigrant influences, renowned globally for its natural beauty and cultural richness.

Students will create a historical timeline, a postcard, a spider map, and a fun facts storyboard showing what they have learned about Hawaii. Creating these visuals gives the students the opportunity to show their creativity and their unique view of the state that they have researched. In addition, the combined use of words and illustrations allows students with different learning styles to show what they know in an exciting and eye-catching way.

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our Social Studies Category!
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