Lesson Plan

Mālama Maui

Ranger with a group of students

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Grade Level:
Lower Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
Hawai‘i Content and Performance Standards III:

SC.K.1.2, SS.K.5.2, SS.1.4.1, SC.2.8.2, SS.2.3.1, SS.2.7.4


At the end of this lesson, the students will be able to determine how Haleakalā National Park protects special native habitats and how the students can help protect them too.


On our field trip to Haleakalā we learned about many ways that the National Park Service helps protect special native habitats found nowhere else on earth. It is our kuleana (responsibility) to care for Haleakalā National Park. In what ways can we help?


Review field trip information and lessons. Print out letter to parents and sign. 

Lesson Hook/Preview

What kinds of things could you do for the environment every day?


Step 1: Introduction

Generate a discussion about mālama or caring. Ask children to describe how they take care of other things in their lives (ex: pets, siblings, toys, gardens).

Step 2: Reflect on Haleakalā National Park’s protection efforts

Have students remind you of some of the native species that are found in Haleakalā National Park. Generate a list of how Haleakalā National Park helps protect the special habitats of these native species.

  • Stay on the trail rule
  • Cattle fences
  • Relocating 4-legged animals
  • Planting native plants
  • Educating people

Step 3: How can students help protect native habits?

Ask students how they can help protect the special habitats of native species at Haleakalā National Park:

  • Respecting all living creatures
  • Telling friends to respect creatures
  • Picking up litter
  • Brush boots
  • Sharing with others about Maui’s special native plants and animals and fragile native habitats
  • Staying on trail
  • Leave no trace

Step 4: What else can students do to help?

Ask students how they can help protect the environment at home or at school:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Eat locally grown foods
  • Conserve water
  • Conserve electricity
  • Water plants
  • Grow a garden
  • Carry a reusable water bottle
  • Take reusable lunch containers
  • Leave places better than you found them

Step 5: Explain Homework

Hand out the note for students to take home to parents. Ask students to perform at least one act of caring for the environment and to be prepared to tell their classmates about their efforts on the following day.

Step 6: Next Day Discussion

When students report on their efforts, make a class list of all of their caring actions and discuss their feelings about these actions.

Possible Discussion Questions:

  • Was your helping action easy or difficult?
  • Did you give up something in order to care for the environment? Was it worth it?
  • What kinds of things could you do for the environment every day?
  • How could you interest other friends and family members in helping nature and protecting the habitats of native species?

Reference: Adapted from ‘Ōhiʻa Project. (1989). “M” is for mālama. An environmental education guidebook for Hawaiʻi (pp. 157-160). Honolulu, HI: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and Moanalua Gardens Foundation.


Kuleana: Responsibility.

Mālama: To care for or take care of.

Native: Plants and animals that got to Hawai’i by themselves, without the help of people.

Non-native: Plants and animals that are brought to an area by people, either on purpose or accidently.

Additional Resources

Please copy, paste, and sign to distribute this letter to parents of students.


Dear Parents, 

Our class is learning about ways to keep the environment healthy and beautiful. We have discussed ways that people can care for the environment by conserving resources such as water and paper. We have also learned about respecting and caring for other living things.

Before returning to school tomorrow, each student has agreed to do one thing that shows mālama, or caring for, our Hawaiian environment. Please discuss this with your child and guide his or her efforts. Student actions may be as simple as picking up litter or watering a tree. The environment thanks you! 


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Last updated: March 9, 2018