The Science and Culture of Art - Maui the Kitemaker

Overview and Background

The Bishop Museum's “Science and Culture of Art” program seeks to teach select standards-based concepts and processes of art, science and social studies disciplines to elementary school students in Title I schools on Oahu.  Under a foundation grant, sessions were co-presented in 2009 by a Bishop Museum science educator and a Native Hawaiian artist.  Students were guided in hands-on activities that included creating artwork, doing science experiments and exploring Native Hawaiian culture.


This series of lessons provides an overview of a 6-week program with Grade 4 students at Ka Wai Hona O Ka Naauao Charter and Waianae Elementary schools in the spring term of 2009.  The activities focus on integrating the Stories of Maui and the "Science of Paradise" through traditional Hawaiian Kapa Kite making.


The "Maui the Kitemaker" program focus was on integrating legends of the Hawaiian demigod Maui whose many adventures included “How Maui Slowed the Sun” and “Maui the Kite Maker”. While making their kapa kites, students were taught the science behind Hawaii’s weather and plants. They learned that Hawaiians themselves were in fact scientists.


Funded by the George P. & Ida Tenny Castle Trust, the 2009 Science and Culture of Art program was the conclusion of a 3-year outreach program led by Bishop Museum.

Enduring Understandings

  • Art derives from local culture.

  • The oral tradition explains the nature of the world.