Kindergarten students weave fabric studies and snuffle mats into a service project for Seattle Humane Society

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Westside School’s kindergarten classes have been studying fabric in science. When we heard the Seattle Humane Society needed some fabric mats, we decided to team up for an adorable service project! The kids spent the last two weeks weaving snuffle mats designed to help eliminate boredom for the shelter dogs. Together we created ten mats for the dogs, and were fortunate to have some extra visitors come to campus when the Seattle Humane Society came to pick up the mats.


Zelda, a trained therapy dog, as well as several adoptable cats came to meet the students and interact for a fun filled afternoon. Kindergarten students had the chance to learn about safe interactions with animals, and how to approach an unfamiliar animal. The students loved getting to pet the animals, and see some of Zelda’s many talents.

Congratulations to the kindergarten classes and teaching team for doing something wonderful for the animals!

Creative Exploration at Westside School

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Annual giving allows Westside School to invest in core elements of our program that promote creative exploration for all students


Westside School believes creating is an intrinsic part of learning. That’s why all of our classes provide opportunities for inquiry, discovery and expression, from core subjects like math and science, to dedicated classes in technology, and performing and fine arts. Outside of class, enrichment opportunities like robotics, drama, and art allow students to continue creating as they nurture their emerging passions.

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Last year, students connected creativity with math by having some fun with snails. You may have heard an ant can carry something that weighs hundreds of times its own body weight. In pre-algebra, students asked a similar question about snails: How much can a snail pull, relative to its body weight? Each group harnessed a land snail up to a cup, lured it forward with lettuce, and gradually added weight until the snail could no longer pull the cup. They then weighed their snail and how much it was able to pull. Later, students used their knowledge of ratio and percent to determine which snail was the “strongest” relative to its body mass, and figured out how much a human could pull if it had equivalent snail-strength! (Eighth grade algebra students also got to take part in the fun!)

Art Projects


In second grade, students used their creativity to study animals using art. Students went above and beyond in imagining, designing, collaborating, and constructing this artistic and interactive set. Using their knowledge of nocturnal animals, students imagined their own nocturnal creatures and brought them to life in the form of puppets. The second grade students used their gift of storytelling to create backgrounds, scenarios, and puppet show prompts, all included in this set. The ten team-built puppets are housed in an easy to carry and easy to store embellished vintage valise.

Make your gift today!


The Science of Sound – with a bang!

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Westside School third grade students recently completed their unit on the science of sound with a bang! They have been studying the physics of sound waves since January, delving into amplitude, frequency, and the composition of waves. Once they were experts on reading and describing sound waves, they began applying those ideas to ears, animals, music, and instruments. After learning about the traditional parts of an orchestra, the students stretched their imaginations and scientific prowess to invent their own, never-before-heard instruments!

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Using recycled materials, every student used a combination of strings, wind, or percussion in their instrument design. As they played, everyone was able to create distinct pitches and volumes, and several of them even composed short songs. They presented their work to the second and fourth grade classes, and gave confident explanations of how their instrument produced sound.

Sixth grade scientists study earthquake technology

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Over the past few week in science students in sixth grade have been working on the Plate Tectonics unit. They have been studying geologic time, the layers of the earth, volcanoes and earthquakes. This is preparing them for thier study of geology and the evidence of great floods from the ice age in Vantage.

In the pictures students are learning about earthquakes and the technology used to track them by building their own seismographs.

All clues lead to Isaac Newton

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Feburary Scientist of the Month

Congratulations to the third grade students who correctly guessed the February Scientist of the Month! The students are becoming research experts, using the books in our science library to guide them. This month the clues led them to Isaac Newton, whose work with prisms and lenses perfectly compliments our current science unit on light and sound. Way to go, scientists! Come check out the clues for the March Scientist and put a guess in!

Candy Chemistry

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To welcome February, the third grade students indulged in some very sweet science! First they explored the molecular structure of sucrose, and used models to explore exactly what is going on at a molecular level when sugar dissolves in a liquid. They stirred up a recipe of rock candy syrup, which has been slowly crystalizing in the classroom. Making rock candy was a lesson not only in patience, but also in chemical formulas and saturated solutions.

By far the most exciting activity of the week was capturing carbon dioxide gas in balloons. The students worked in groups to see how various substances react with soda to release carbon dioxide. This was a bubbly, exciting moment in the classroom!

Students also dissolved conversation hearts in various liquids, including water, soda, corn syrup, and vinegar. During this experiment, some of the students made an unexpected observation correlating the color of the hearts and their rate of dissolution. Jack and Ellie took that question and ran with it, working together to write a formal hypothesis and experiment plan. They tested out their idea and concluded red dye dissolves at a slower rate than blue dye. What a fabulous (and delicious) way to practice inquiry!

Third grade students collaborate as both scientists and learners

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Third grade students were excited to present their science projects at Westside School’s Lower School Exhibition of Learning last Thursday evening! Our fall science unit focused on heredity and variance of traits, ecosystem dynamics, and natural selection. Each student chose an organism to study, becoming experts on its distinct traits and adaptations. For their culminating project, they created a non-fiction book or brochure. The students were asked to use their project to illustrate their answer to the driving question, “What would the ideal habitat be for my organism?”

A driving question captures the purpose of the project. It helps students to initiate and focus their inquiry, and to independently navigate their research. As students tackle a wide breadth of new information, branching questions spring up with increasing frequency. The open-ended driving question encourages this curiosity, while helping the student to continually see the true north of their project.

The students conducted independent research in class to gather information about their animal, not only describing its ideal habitat, but also to explain why it is so well suited for that particular environment. The students worked backwards, describing every step of their organism’s ecosystem from individual all the way out to biome and explored the topics of habitat disturbances, food webs, and natural selection.

The third grade students collaborated with each other as learners and scientists through their process. They enthusiastically shared exciting new facts with each other, and after publishing their work, they gave presentations to the class, ending with an engaging forum about the differences and similarities in their organisms.

If you didn’t have a chance to see them at the Lower School Exhibition of Learning, we invite you to check out all the students’ projects in the Lower School hallway and third grade classrooms!

contributed by Hayley Sayre, third grade Instructional Assistant