OPIHI: A Community of Students in Research

Our Project in Hawai‘i’s Intertidal (OPIHI) is one of the few ongoing conservation and monitoring efforts focused on Hawai‘i’s intertidal zone. This project originated at the University Laboratory School as part of the Graduate Teaching Fellowships in K–12 Education (GK–12) program at the University of Hawai‘i. A fellow teaching in the Laboratory School’s ninth grade marine science classes began the intertidal survey, taking the ULS students to sites around O‘ahu to inventory species found in the intertidal zone. Although that fellow has long since graduated, the OPIHI program is thriving and has continued to expand.

Students on O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i, and, most recently, the Big Island have joined the Laboratory School students in monitoring the intertidal zone on their islands and contributing to a statewide database of macro-invertebrates, fish, and algae. More than six hunddred taxa have been collected and identified. The growth and vitality of OPIHI demonstrates the power of approaching science education as a community of scientists, improving students’ content and skills knowledge while providing opportunities for them to develop individual investigations within the framework of real research. Writing samples conducted pre- and post-project have shown significant increases in critical thinking and investigative skills. Student products and comments also demonstrate a strong depth of knowledge of study topics. The OPIHI activity guide is now in the final stages of production for dissemination throughout Hawai‘i’s schools.

OPIHI Community Partners

Farrington High School
Kahuku Intermediate and High School
Kalama Intermediate School (Maui)
Ho‘omana Hou Public Charter School (Moloka‘i)
Connections Public Charter School (Hawai‘i)