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By Julie Funasaki Yuen

Mid-Pacific students, from preschool to grade 12, celebrated Engineers Week 2022 by building shelters, designing future transportation, and exploring civil, mechanical and electrical engineering concepts to envision what is possible for building the cities of the future. This is yet another example of Deeper Learning happening in Mid-Pacific classrooms across campus. Developed by the National Society of Professional Engineers, Engineers Week encourages schools across the country to create hands-on STEM and humanities curricula that expands students’ understanding of engineering concepts. 

To engage creative minds in the run up to Engineers Week, Mid-Pacific 8th graders kicked off their focus on STEM and Deeper Learning by using wrenches and rachets to construct the physical structure of an InterShelter dome house on campus – an innovative solution for temporary shelter needs. This structure is the same as dome homes found at THE SHELTER in Kahaluʻu. Once the structure was built, elementary, middle and high school students visited the dome to learn about its design and purpose as transitional housing for houseless single women with children. Using the dome house as inspiration, the 8th graders built their own model structure “penguin houses” designed to mitigate heat transfer.   

Mid-Pacific 8th graders build Intershelter dome as part of their Engineers Week studies.

“We are happy to provide this unique opportunity for our students to learn about innovative housing during Engineers Week that also complements their study of penguin habitats,” says Director of Educational Technology Brian Grantham. 

“It’s kind of hard here in Hawaiʻi,” shares Mid-Pacific 8th grader Leah Williamson ’26. “The temperature gets really hot so this dome helps to lower the temperature inside. We’re learning how to help penguins, too. Due to global warming, their environment gets really hot and makes it harder for them to breathe.”

All middle school students also worked on building their own two-wheel model car engineering projects. Engineers Week activities happened across the Mid-Pacific campus all week long. For the first time, preschool school students celebrated Engineers Week by including engineering concepts as part of their inquiry work that focuses on the study of codes and how this relates to natural and man-made bridges. 

A Mid-Pacific high school student explains engineering concepts to elementary school Owls.

In the high school, physics and engineering students partnered with elementary school students to teach the three main types of engineering, as well as lead young students through engineering projects focused on civil, electrical or mechanical engineering. Engineers Week projects were not limited to physics and engineering classes. Spanish 5 students created a Spanish-language podcast and interviewed a Spanish-speaking architect who works at an iconic local architectural firm.