Seventh grade

Seventh grade spends week rafting, hiking, and growing

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The class of 2018 rafted for two days and hiked 7.8 miles along the Clackamas River on a five day trip at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, OR. One of the main focuses of the trip was communication and cooperation; students worked together through team building activities and learning to raft together. Each evening students met by the campfire to review and reflect upon their day and acknowledge each other. The week culminated in a day long rafting experience with class three and four rapids with names such as Hole in the Wall, Box of Fluffy Kittens, and Toilet Bowl. All in all, the trip was an amazing experience for all involved! The seventh grade class was able to mature and grow, and they are now ready to step into the role of being the leaders of Westside School Middle School.

The power of snails in pre-algebra

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How much do you think you could pull, if you were as strong as a snail? To investigate this, seventh grade students harnessed the power of snails (literally!) in pre-algebra. Each group hooked a land snail up to a paper cup which the snail would pull and the students would gradually fill with washers.

The goal is to find the maximum pulling strength of each snail, which students will compare (using ratio and percent) to the snail’s own body mass!

The Amazing Race at Westside!

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With the goal of bringing all Middle School students, grades fifth through eighth, together this afternoon Kendra’s advisory created The Amazing Race! Students were assigned to groups that allowed them the chance to interact with grade levels they might not always see each day.

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With activities like the Caterpillar Game, Tarp Challenge, and Hula Hoop Challenge students were given the opportunity to solve problems, cheer each other on, and get creative on this sunny Friday!

35 Years of Westside Stories…a look back at river rafting, teacher relationships, and a community of friends

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In anticipation of our 35th Celebration, we’ve asked some of our eighth grade students to share their Westside Story. Westside School is what it is today because of 35 years of stories. We’d love to hear yours.


My favorite part of Westside School since coming here in seventh grade are the trips. During the spring of our seventh grade year, we went river rafting. For me, that was my first time going rafting, and I was definitely nervous. During the first time in the river our raft group had lots of fun. On the raft there were people I hadn’t really hung out with during the school year. While on the raft, we went through some rapids that were pretty scary, but we worked together to get through them. At one point during our rafting we created a story where we had one person ride in the front of the boat and we re-created George Washington crossing the Delaware. Our story brought everyone on the raft closer. It wasn’t just the story that brought us together, though, at one point we started singing, and if I remember correctly it was the song, “Watch Me”, a popular dance during that time. We sang as we worked together to move our raft, and being the ones in the front while racing another raft made us work even harder. At the end of the day I think we all got closer to each other than we were before. Maybe we didn’t become close friends, but we did become closer classmates. That day I felt glad to have come to Westside and experience that bond.

Shared by a member of the Class of 2017

I began my time at Westside School when I was ten years old. At that time, it was a very different place and it has been interesting to see it change and evolve into the school it is today. I feel as though every camping trip has brought new experiences and skills to the class, and I have loved my time here. I found the community was very friendly and supportive when I arrived as a new student. It was more academically challenging compared to my old school and this pushed me into working harder. I am thankful to have been able to attend Westside School for almost five years.

Shared by Emma, Class of 2017

I have been at Westside School  for nine years. During that time, I have met so many people. One thing I like is how everyone knows each other. Some people I have known for almost ten years, so it will be hard to leave everyone when I graduate. I also like how well the teachers know us. It helps to know the teachers well because they can tell you specifically what you should do. I am happy with the community at Westside School, and I will be sad to leave it.

Shared by a member of the Class of 2017

Share your story with us. It just might be featured here!

Westside School Debate team places second in first ever competition!

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This past weekend, Westside School’s Debate exploratory took part in its first ever competition at The Evergreen School. There were over 140 students present and 11 middle schools in total, representing independent schools from all over Seattle. Eighth grade students Sophia C. and Zoe M., along with seventh grade student Sophia H. competed in three rounds of debates, which covered everything from debating whether Presidents should have one single seven-year term to arguing an impromptu topic on a quote by Albert Einstein. When all was said and done, and points were tallied, Westside School’s team ended up taking second place out of eleven teams!


Additionally, Sophia H. received an individual speech award as the top speaker for Westside. The second place trophy is proudly on display in debate coach Kendra Dixon’s classroom.  Way to go, Debate team!

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.

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Seventh grade rafts, hikes, and reflects by The Clackamas River

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The seventh grade students camped near Estacada, Oregon by The Clackamas River. Students rafted a low Class II rapid, hiked eight miles, and rafted a higher Class II rapid following the river adjacent to our hike the previous day. Students went over rapids with names such as Box full of Fluffy Kittens, Hole in the Wall, and the Toilet Bowl, among many others! The group camped at the Milo McIver Campground where they were met by the Oregon Rafting Experience guides. They helped out with meal preparations as well as guiding the students on their hikes and on the river.

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Each evening students met by the campfire to review and reflect upon their day through journals created by the staff. They learned basic rafting commands and how to best prepare themselves when rafting more active rapids. Many students and a few teachers freely fell into the 45 degree river, while others got soaked from the splashing waters!