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Expository Writing


11th, 12th


English Language Arts


80 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Hawai'i


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

ELA Lesson: Biodiversity in the Kumulipo

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
May 23, 2024
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In this lesson, students analyze the biodiversity represented in the Kumulipo creation chant and create a children’s book about protecting species.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss origin stories and why stories are important to understanding a place.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students read the Kumulipo, the creation chant of the Hawaiian people, and learn how biodiversity within the chant is threatened by climate change.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students collaborate to create a children’s book about plants and animals from the Kumulipo, including how to protect these species from climate change.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson aligns with Hawai‘i’s Nā Hopena A‘o HĀ-BREATH Framework.

  • This lesson can be incorporated into units about personal narratives, the literature of Hawai‘i, Aloha ‘Āina, and what it means to build a sustainable Hawai‘i. This lesson can also be used in a Hawaiian Studies or science class exploring biodiversity and the impact of climate change on species over time.

  • Students are given choice and are empowered to teach others.
  • Students see species and ecosystems through both a Native Hawaiian worldview and a Western scientific biodiversity standpoint and learn why climate change that harms one species can also cause the entire ecosystem to suffer.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some familiarity with how climate change impacts plants and animals in Hawai‘i. Even just knowing that many species are endangered or extinct is enough.

  • Students should have some knowledge of origin stories.

  • Teacher should preview the Kumulipo and the Teacher Answer Key before starting the lesson.


  • Students can extend this assignment into a personal narrative. Students can choose their “keystone” species that adds value to their life, outside of humans and pets, and write about this relationship.

  • This assignment can also be made into one about character voice. Students can choose a species, create personality traits, and write using that voice.

  • Students may work in groups or look up each plant or animal individually.

Scientist Notes

This lesson allows students to explore species and natural resources in Hawai'i and how climate change has impacted biodiversity. They will also learn how to convey the state of the biodiversity through storytelling. The lesson passed our science credibility process after all of the supporting documents, images, and resources were examined.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.CI.11–12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of an informational text and analyze how they are developed and refined over the course of a text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex account or analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
    • Reading: Literature (K-12)
      • RL.IT.11–12.3 Analyze the impact of the author’s choices as they develop ideas throughout the text regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.IW.11–12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts (including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes) to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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