This experiment is part of the STEM Education Challenge Grant. Browse more projects

A sustainable Hawai’i bio-makerspace rooted in cultural & ancestral knowledge

Honolulu, Hawaii
EducationArt and Design
DOI: 10.18258/53826
Grant: STEM Education
Raised of $10,000 Goal
Funded on 9/23/23
Successfully Funded
  • $10,200
  • 102%
  • Funded
    on 9/23/23



I plan on using a tool box of educational strategies to engage and collaborate with local communities. These strategies have been developed in collaboration with the Nest Makerspace, Xinampa Community Biolab and BioJam Camp. These focus on multi-directional and multi-generational knowledge exchange through culture and ancestral knowledge and include: Generative Learning, Playful Learning, Reflection and Rituals, Storytelling, Frugal Design Tools, and Social Awareness and Action. These approaches were developed to facilitate low floor-high ceiling activities that can be replicated with low cost accessible materials in participants' homes and community spaces. 

You can read about these approaches in Bioengineering Everywhere, for Everyone , Of Carved Radishes, Recipes and Rituals/Gratitude as Co-VoyagersWHAT BIODESIGN MEANS TO ME and a good story is both foreign and familiar

And my current explorations in prototyping workshop here in Manoa Valley can be seen on my workshops page


I anticipate challenges will include engaging in discussions of synthetic biology on islands deeply distrustful of synthetic biology and greatly impacted by pollution by colonial and plantation mismanagement of water and land (mismanagement that was touted as progress and science). I aim to create safe spaces for discussions by using playful approaches and focusing on community identified pressing issues and by centering Indigenous science knowledge in innovation conversations. I also anticipate a challenge in engaging across both informal and formal academic spaces as most programming is framed as STEM in Hawaii and there has not been an embrace of STEAM in the K-12 system. I hope to address that by continually reaching out and sharing programming with educators, and I will highlight how STEAM focuses can lead to deep innovation in place based environmental solutions and in sustainability design challenges (like the Biodesign Challenge). I also anticipate securing participant feedback in a timely manner might be difficult and I also anticipate that there could be workshop sign ups that become no shows. To ensure feedback, I will have both printed and online survey forms and a “reward” for filling them out. To ensure attendance, I will charge a nominal workshop fee.

Pre Analysis Plan

I plan to use a google survey form to collect quantitative data and qualitative data. I also aim to design playful pre and post qualitative assessment surveys. Some sample survey techniques to be explored include models from past projects in this album. And a current sample survey is here. 

I plan on tracking repeat workshop engagement, as well as changes in participants' feeling about their voice mattering in shaping the future.  

The artifacts created in the workshops will also be photographed and participants will write statements about what they learned, wished and liked. 

Outcome to be assessed will also include number of community organizations engaged and if any are interested in future collaborations to bring programming into their place-based programming. 


This project has not yet shared any protocols.