Sixth grade students in Jordan Ushijima’s ’97 class are hooked on woodworking. In a recent project in the Frear Wood Shop, the students designed and created a wooden fish hook, known as a makau, to wear as a necklace, for themselves or as a gift. During the process, students learned about the Hawaiian tradition of giving a makau to a special person in their life, to honor the important role a lawaia, or fisherman, provides to the ‘ohana.
The goal of the class is to get the students familiar with hand tools and slowly introduce them to other hand-held machines in the wood shop, while applying design thinking principles to guide them along their creative journey. For students and for Ushijima, a design technology and engineering faculty member, it’s the challenge of woodworking that provides the biggest payoff.
“Woodworking is not easy,” Ushijima said. “Most students don’t have much experience working with wood, so it presents a challenge to them. But when their faces light up when they see the awesome work that they created, that’s what I like most about teaching woodcraft.”