Captain Ahab's Weird Wide World - A Coconut in the Mail

article by Jules Antelmi , photo by Alamy

Learning intention:

We are learning to interpret meaning from information in a non-fiction article and apply it to our own ideas.

Success criteria:

Students discuss the meaning of the Aloha spirit.

Students explain how sending a personalised coconut is an act of kindness.

Students design their own coconut for a particular person.

Students write a sentence explaining their design.

Design a coconut that you would send if you visited Hoolehua Post Office.

After reading the article, watch the YouTube video Mailing a Molokai coconut with Post-A-Nut, pausing at appropriate times to allow students to see the different designs of the coconuts. Discuss how it would feel to receive one of these coconuts in the mail all the way from Hawaii.

Ask the students to recall the places mentioned in the article that coconuts have been sent to (the Antarctic, Easter Island, Iceland, Kathmandu, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Zermatt in the Swiss Alps). If you have a digital subscription, go to the interactive to demonstrate how far these places are from Hawaii.

Ask the students if they remember what the values of the Aloha spirit were in the article (warmth, harmony and goodness) and discuss what they mean, as well as how they can be applied in our lives. Explain that the Aloha spirit is a law in Hawaii, and although it’s basically impossible to enforce, it is an expectation of citizens to conduct themselves with kindness and consideration for others.

Ask the students for their thoughts on how creating a personalised design or message on a coconut and mailing it to somebody can send part of the Aloha spirit to people who are far away from Hawaii. Tell them to consider who they would send a coconut to if they had the chance to visit the Hoolehua Post Office.

Students should then draw a circle on paper to represent a coconut, then draw and colour their personalised design or message, writing a sentence underneath about who it is for and what it means. These could be displayed in the classroom with a Post-A-Nut sign.