Connect Culture with Learning: Lōkahi Wheel

Goal: To engage in practices and learning experiences that foster and shape the development of students in Hawaii to become responsible, capable, caring, healthy human beings who have a strong cultural identity and sense of place.

Why: Culturally responsive teaching is supported by a growing body of research (Irvine & Armento, 2001; Darling, 2005, Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence, 2004). Many studies find that culturally responsive teaching includes using curriculum that is rigorous and relevant to students’ lives, and the teacher’s desire and ability to foster a trusting relationship with students and families that extends beyond the classroom.

Additionally, the Native Hawaiian Education Council (2002) recommends that one of the key guidelines for Hawaiian education success is to strengthen and sustain Native Hawaiian cultural identity to support the learning, use, and understanding of the Hawaiian language, culture, history, heritage, traditions, and values. One way to directly incorporate Native Hawaiian values into the classroom is to discuss the Native Hawaiian concept of Lōkahi. Lōkahi refers to balance, harmony, and unity for the self, in relationship to the body, mind, and spirit.

What: Utilize the Lokahi Wheel to integrate traditional Hawaiian values into the classroom.


**Before this task is done with students, consider making your own Lōkahi Wheel and share yours after they have completed the assignment.

  1. Download and print the Lōkahi Wheel Worksheet (PDF Format) for each student.
  2. Distribute the Lokahi Wheel Worksheet to each student.
  3. Discuss each Hawaiian value and its meaning, which comprises each segment of the wheel.
  4. Invite students to draw a symbol of each facet of Lokahi in their own lives.
  5. Ask students to write a short description for each picture they drew.
  6. Invite students to share their Lōkahi Wheel with the rest of the class.
  7. Facilitate a discussion with your students about the importance of Lōkahi. Below are questions to facilitate the discussion:
    • Why might it be important to have your own images on your wheel?
    • How can making an original Lōkahi Wheel help you, in this class and in your life?

Note: If there is a cultural expert assigned to your school, consider inviting them in to do this activity with students and/or to share their Lōkahi Wheels.