Floral litmus solutions

In physical science laboratory thirteen the students use floral litmus solutions to determine whether household substances are acids, bases, or neutral.

Mandylae pours hot water into her flowers with Iva Nicole and Mayleen Route in the back left
The students bring in flowers. I do not provide guidance as to which flowers to bring in, there is no simple predictor for which flowers will work in any given term or at a particular time of day. Some flowers work better latter in the day (Hibiscus tiliaceus) while others work some terms and other terms do not work (Sphagneticola trilobata). Spathoglottis plicata tends to be reliable if freshly picked. And some flowers do not produce any pigment (Ixora casei, Saraca asoka).

Anjannette and Tristan test bleach while Regina Pelep looks on
Each floral litmus solution is first tests against a known acid (local lime fruit, karer tik this term) and a known base (baking soda) to determine whether the flower can detect acids and bases. The students ar…

Ethnogardening clean-up in the rain: role call

A tropical wave in the tropical trough having stalled on top of Pohnpei since the weekend, Thursday was wet, rainy, and if anything colder than Tuesday. Perfect weather for whacking weeds in the garden with a machete. There is a mathematical function wherein the shorter the duration until the end of the term, the higher the attendance in a class. Where nine were absent on the optional Tuesday, only four missed Thursday although the conditions were the same or slightly chillier. Each day that passes without sunshine, the island cools down a little more.

Unable to take a paper based role, I took a photographic role call.

Francina. Macaranga carolinensis on the left in the background
Kanoa. Gardenia jasminoides on the right side of the frame.
Jaynard and Jayleen Rensile
Nagsia and Austin
Regina Moya under the Senna alata
Heather. Behind her a sea of Ischaemum polystachyum.
Junida cleans in amongst the Saccharum spontaneum
Alexander between the Cymbopogon citratus and the Senna alata

Banana patch ethnogardening

Rainy weather for an outdoor work day in ethnobotany is a blessing and an opportunity to sort out the "ohlen/lien" Pohnpei from a more recent generation that shuns the rain and can be found only in air conditioned rooms with smartphones.

Due to conditions, an opt-out was offered:

The SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class is meeting at the agriculture area to work in the banana patch Tuesday 18 April at 3:30. The weather conditions are pure Pohnpei. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant you can and should opt out of this session. These are challenging conditions. If you do not have the background to work in the rain, you should opt out. Wet conditions are perhaps the most dangerous for those not accustomed to working in the rain. You will have to decide whether these are conditions in which you can work.

Note that there are also cultural reasons for permitting a student who is pregnant to opt out.

Regina Moya arrived first, here sharpening her knife
Jayleen Rensile swings a mac…

Invasive species of Paies

The invasive species walk and talk was under essentially clear sunny skies. The walk also included review of some of the plants of campus. On the way north from the classroom I noted Sphagneticola trilobata, Ischaemum polystachyum, Falcataria moluccana, and Pterocarpus indicus. Pterocarpus indicus is not particularly invasive on Pohnpei. A recent weed whacking of the area of the former ethnobotanic garden had cut down the Heterotis rotundifolia. I also could not find Hippobroma longiflora. We gazed at the Clerodendrum quadriloculare from across the road.

The Ipomoea carnea was thriving. and Chromolaena odorata was scattered along the walking route. We eventually became buried amid Ischaemum polystachyum, Merremia peltata, and young Falcaria moluccana. The sun was blazing and every plant swallowing us was an invasive. I pointed this out and noted that while everyone was focused on the dual citizen issue and concern over foreigners, foreign plants had taken over portions of Pohnpei. I p…


Monday I showed the Micronesian Seminar video Power Comes in Many Forms. I later learned that about ten months ago the MicSem video library was made available on YouTube, including Power Comes in Many Forms.

Wednesday was P = iV and V = iR with appliances and a CashPower meter slip showing 35 cents per kiloWatt hour.

I was playing getting an old motor to run when the students came in at 8:00. I eventually discovered that I could throttle the speed of the motor by sliding the right magnet forward or backward. Initial experiments with one cell had not worked.

So I was running four cells when I discovered that the motor would not spin unless the right magnet was pulled forward. I suspect, quite frankly, that the right magnet is in backwards and should have been South facing me. That said, both were quite dead, so I taped on newer magnets.

I explained the operation of the motor to the few students who were present at 8:00 A.M.

Mayleen Route, Iva Nicole test conductors
Both classes uninten…

Fruit failure

Sometimes a lesson plan bears fruit, other times the same lesson plan does not. Last term I experimented with having the students make a "real fruit poster." Last term the students surprised me with the effort they went to in bringing unusual fruit. This term most of the fruit was grabbed from a tree or bush on campus, often a fruit from a tree between the parking lot and the building. Almost all fruit were duplicated, triplicated, or more. Last term the students really put together a fantastic poster display. This term the students, well, did not. With few fruits to work with, the students settled on a very basic and somewhat inelegant solution for their chart.

Nagsia, Donovan, Austin
Part of the problem was the new lounge table. The table meant that the class could not all access the paper. While certainly the larger issue was a lack of diversity of fruit (perhaps I need to purchase fruit for the class in advance to ensure diversity), the lack of space is also a problem. T…

Founding Day 2017

Founding Day 2017 was conceived as a combined sports and culture day, a first for the college. The theme was "Celebrating Unity Through Sports and Culture." This year Founding Day fell on a Saturday, which placed Rahn en Tiahk on Friday. This moved Founding Day to Thursday 30 March, and meant that floats would have to be assembled by students on Wednesday evening.

Assembly on the Kosrae Student Organization float would continue until 3:00 A.M. on Thursday morning, at which time the float was moved to Spanish Wall ball field. All floats arrived in the night except NuKap which pulled in after 8:00 A.M. As NuKap was the last group in the parade, sequencing their float was not the problem it might have been had they been in the middle of the parade order.

Although the float would go to capture first place, the float as judged was not complete. The fafa pounder (above) and the Kosraean soup server (in back) were not yet in place when judging occurred. Fafa has to be freshly prep…