Lesson Plan

Navigating Through Time: From Way Finding To Satellite Grades 6-12

Traditional Double-Hulled Canoe
Traditional Double-Hulled Canoe

Herb Kawainui Kane

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Climate Change, Maritime History, Science and Technology
2 hours
Group Size:
Up to 60


Polynesians had a unique sense of place and where they were on an island. They had a vast knowledge of their island home from the mountain to the ocean. Polynesians used a system that is known as wayfinding to chart their destination.  Today we use modern navigational tools to find our way through the world.


  • Understand the concept of navigation without tools
  • Grow stronger powers of observation
  • Understand how to use a compass
  • Understand how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) 


Navigation techniques have been utilized by Pacific Islanders for centuries. These techniques involved keen observation of the natural world. In the modern era, tools have been developed to assist in finding our way. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park serves as a modern laboratory for scientists who use tools such as Global Positioning Systems and compasses in their studies.


Wayfinding, compass housing, compass needle, orienting arrow, global positioning system

Last updated: June 8, 2017