Polynesian Pioneers (3-5)


The objective of this lesson plan is for students to use deductive reasoning and problem-solving skills to reach consensus through discussion and persuasion on the most important roles needed for the exploration of the Pacific.

Lesson Narrative

“The year is AD 625. A new island has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Our chief has selected your tribe to settle this newly discovered island. The chief has ordered you to select six adults, who you think would be valuable to the settlement on the new island. Select from the following list released by the chief. Your tribe must support all of your decisions by explaining to the chief why you chose certain members to settle the new island.”

Chief’s List

Nainoa “Alenuihaha – Navigator
Kimo Koa – Captain
Papa Ohana – Kahuna Ku’auhau – Family Historian
Kapu Kane – Kahuna In Charge of Heiau – Helps People Pray
Uncle ‘Awa – Kahuna Lapa’au – Healer
Kumu Kapa Pa’u – Kumu Hula
Maui Malolo – Lawa’i – Expert Fisherman
Pa’a “O’O – Tool-maker
Nani ‘Ie’Ie – Net-maker
Auntie Imu – Cook
Malia Mele – Instrument-maker and Musician
Pua Pili – Hale Builder – Home Builder

Student Tasks

  1. Each member of each tribe should consider the task at hand and then make their own decisions. (10 mins.)
  2. The members should take turns sharing their choices and reasoning. (3 mins each)
  3. The members should try to reach consensus on a decision. Some members may need to use influence and persuasive statements to convince other members of the tribe where there is disagreement. (10 mins.)
  4. The members should select a recorder to write their final list of members to have a spot on the canoe to settle the new island. Other members of the tribe can help the recorder. (5 mins)
  5. The recorder should report to the other tribes what their tribe chose and why they made those decisions.

Classroom Considerations

Time: Approximately 45 minutes
Materials: Paper, pencil, and a sheet of paper

Note: This lesson plan was created by Starr Asselin of Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School.