Classes & Descriptions

Classes & Descriptions

Campers have the ability to design a schedule that reflects their personal interests and goals for the summer! Pick and choose from over 60 class offerings spanning the arts, science, athletics, and more! For class descriptions, click on a category below.

For the 2017 Schedule, click here: 2017 Class Schedule

  • A Little Bit of This and That

    Anime: Films of Hayao Miyazaki
    Miyazaki’s films are some of the most popular in contemporary cinema. Global acclaim for his films is undoubtedly due to his beautiful animation. However, his characters and stories speak across cultural borders. In this class, we will look at films reflecting core issues important to Miyazaki such as pollution and the environment, women and gender roles, and socioeconomic differences.

    Cooking with NWS
    The Northwest School is known for delicious lunches designed and prepared by our professional kitchen team. Join our chefs behind the scenes! $25 materials fee

    This summer, we will explore a different cuisine each session:

    Session 1: Pan-Asian – Combining authentic Asian dishes with Pacific Northwest influences

    Session 2: American Classics – Exploring traditional home-style cooking and baking from the east coast to the west coast!

    Session 3: One Pot Wonders – Explore global cuisine in one pot! Whether our pot is a dutch oven, a wok, or a tagine, we’ll prepare dishes from around the world.

    Period 4 (all three sessions): Food Truck Bites – Delving into the food truck phenomenon, we’ll cook up tasty dishes served up in food trucks around the city.

    Creature Crafts
    Looking for a new friend who is cute and cuddly or scary and weird? You've come to the right place! In this class, you will gain the skills needed to sew up your own plush creature creation. We will use recycled fabrics, found objects, and more to give life to your new pal. The only limit is your creativity! $25 materials fee

    Fashion Studio: Re-FABULOUS
    Learn how to personalize your style and repurpose found fabrics and thrift-store finds into something cool and uniquely you. Using embellishment and a combination of hand and machine sewing, we will breathe new life into everyday pieces. Create something fabulous for your wardrobe! $25 materials fee

    Fashion Studio: 1000 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt
    There are so many ways to personalize a t-shirt. In this class, we will learn how to alter t-shirts to fit better, cut them in ways to make them extra cute, embellish them with our own designs, and paint on them to create our own textiles, all while using up-cycled t-shirts. $25 materials fee

    History of Seattle: What’s in a Name?
    Seattle is a city full of interesting names. It is home to a street called Stewart, a park named Cal Anderson, a beach called Alki, a museum named Wing Luke, and a river called Duwamish. All of these sites can be found in King County, and all of these names—including the name of Seattle —tell us about Seattle’s unique history. Through in-class activities and field trips, this class will explore Seattle via historical figures and landmarks, from indigenous cultures to the present day. $25 materials fee

    Life Skills/LEAD
    This is a program for the development of young leaders. Conflict management and peer mediation, social responsibility, advanced problem solving, team building, community action, plus big helpings of fun and action—these are just some of the areas on which we’ll focus in this dynamic project. Come out on the other side of this program ready to lead.

  • Architecture

    We are excited to partner again with the Seattle Architecture Foundation to offer two innovative classes!

    Designing Seattle
    This class will take a look at the transformations happening in Seattle communities like Capitol Hill and South Lake Union. We will visit neighborhoods, talk with architects, and design models for new buildings and spaces such as parks, houses, stores, libraries and streets. Taking inspiration from our camp’s international community, we’ll also look at urban centers around the world. $25 materials fee

    Intro to Architectural Modeling
    In this class, we will use architectural modeling to design neighborhood parks, streets, and buildings. We will construct a study model out of cardstock and cardboard, learning techniques to communicate the big ideas about your design. We will then build a more detailed presentation model to scale using balsa wood. $50 materials fee

  • Computers Arts & Electronics

    Computer Animation
    In the world of animation, if you can imagine it, you can create it. This is your chance to bring your imagination to life. We’ll learn to express our ideas in pictures and words while discussing storyboarding, scriptwriting, scenic layout, and more.

    Digital Music
    You are the conductor, composer, and musician! This class will introduce you to music theory and have you developing pieces inspired by different genres. Using Garage Band software, you’ll be able to create and edit sound while learning sequencing programs to assemble your musical masterpieces.

    DIY Robots
    This class will be about making battery-driven scooting, lurching, and walking machines. We'll explore electronics and engineering as we discuss the parts necessary to make electricity produce movement. Students will work in teams to construct kinetic artworks. $50 materials fee

    Electronic Music Machines
    In this class, we'll use electronics to build synthesizers. Students will work individually to create simple timer-circuit synths, and in pairs to develop Arduino synths, involving Arduinos and programming. $25 materials fee

    Filmmaking Studio
    Lights, camera, action! Dive into the world of filmmaking creating, shooting, and editing your very own short film. As a class, you will devise a concept, storyboard, and write a script. We’ll then form a production crew, rotating roles to shoot, direct, and act. Finally, we’ll edit the film together before debuting it at the camp showcase. $25 materials fee

    Sumo Bots
    Custom build your own sumo bot! Working in teams, we will create a mechanical structure, decide on an electronic system, and program the robots’ software. With in-class competitions, we’ll continue to refine our creations. Let the battle begin! $50 materials fee

  • English Language Learners (ELL)

    English language learners are welcome to enroll in any of our Summer Camp classes, unless a class is listed as requiring native English proficiency. Below are classes specifically for ELL students who wish to improve their English language skills. Due to the integrative nature of our camp, international campers must have at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic instruction.

    Speaking & Presentation – Beginning & Intermediate
    In this class, we will work on pronunciation, enunciation, and projection. Through repeated practice and small-group activities, you will become more at ease in your overall language ability. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.

    Beginning Level – Campers designated as beginners will have had at least one year of English instruction and be able to understand basic inquiries (e.g. how are you, what is your name, etc.). The class will focus on expanding vocabulary and building confidence in using English. We will also have an emphasis on listening comprehension so that students are more able to participate in conversation with native speakers.

    Intermediate Level – Campers designated as intermediate are able to communicate in English, but want to build their conversation and presentation skills. Using English as a bridge, students will interact with classmates to learn about their cultures, habits, expectations, and aspirations. They will then relate what they have learned about each other in classroom presentations, where they will focus on pronunciation skills such as cadence, intonation, stress, and overall fluency.


    Reading & Writing – Beginning & Intermediate
    Through reading, we will develop our English vocabulary. We will then work on expressing your thoughts clearly and eloquently in writing. Our instructors will begin with the basics and guide you through the rules of English composition. Campers will be assessed and divided into appropriate levels on the first day of class.

    Beginning Level – In this class, students will review phonetics, spelling, and grammar, while also building their vocabulary. We’ll look at creative writing as well as news articles and short stories to find inspiration for our own written pieces.

    Intermediate Level – Students will spend time reading and writing in multiple genres, including poems and short stories, and practical genres like menus and letters, to help them develop their language skills.


  • Math & Science

    Biology of Civilization
    A look into how basic biology holds up the backbone of our society. We will pose the question: “How does a society rebuild after a large scale natural disaster or cataclysm?” Using raw materials, we will dive into the science of soap making, water purification, food preservation, medicine, and other things we usually take for granted.

    Marine Biology: Our Changing Ecosystems
    Marine ecosystems are rapidly changing due to pollution, global warming, and human consumption. In this class, we will study the biodiversity of marine life and how climate change is affecting coral reefs and the pH of the ocean. Taking advantage of our proximity to the Puget Sound, we will use low tide to explore our own shores!

    Math: Algebra & Geometry Lab
    Review your understanding of beginning algebraic principles while expanding your spatial understanding. Exploring the connections between Algebra and Geometry, we will cover topics such as linear equations, functions and graphing, polynomials, congruence, similarity, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Intended for students ages 13+

    Math: Developing Inquiring Minds
    This class will challenge students to apply basic skills to real problems. We will emphasize proportional thinking and algorithms, and learn to communicate math reasoning and organization. Depending on students’ ability, we may also introduce Pre-Algebra and Pre-Geometry concepts. As with all our camp math classes, students will look at real-world applications. Intended for students ages 10-12

    Microbiology: Examining the Microbes around Us
    Microbes are everywhere. They live in air, soil, rock, and water. Some live happily in searing heat, while others thrive in freezing cold. Some cause disease in humans, plants, and animals, while others are essential for a healthy life. In order to treat diseases caused by microbes (as simple as the common cold or as complicated as HIV), it is essential to study microbes in our ever-changing environment. This class will look at different diseases caused by microbes, and environmental and global issues that are contributing to emerging and re-emerging diseases.

    Physics: DIY Contraptions
    Explore physical properties through the mechanics of rockets, mouse trap cars, and other contraptions. In this annual favorite, you will use hands-on building and math analysis to perfect your work and sharpen your understanding of physics. $25 materials fee

  • Music & Performing Arts

    African Drums
    We provide the drums, you bring the rhythm. In this annual favorite, you will be introduced to the sounds of West Africa through drums, games, and storytelling.

    Intro to Keyboarding
    Want to be able to sit down at the piano and play something fun? Intro to Keyboarding teaches you the fundamentals of keyboarding, starting with knowing the names of the notes and playing easy scales and chords. As the final project, you'll learn to play a song of your choice on the piano.

    Music for Film
    We study favorite movies to gain insight into how music is an integral part of the storytelling and emotional impact of the art of film. This class will include a visit with Seattle's premiere soundtrack recording studio (The Revenant, Selma, Diabolo), the chance to meet a film composer, and a final project in which you create your own soundtrack to an animated short. Active listening, critical thinking, and respectful discussion are key parts of the class.

    Songwriting for Everyone
    Have you always wanted to try writing a song? Here's the place to give it a try! Learn the art of songwriting through fun games and exercises. We will explore lyrics, melody, phrasing, rhymes and inspiration. You don’t have to play an instrument. All this class requires is a willingness to tap into and share your creativity.

    Ukulele Fundamentals
    Learn fundamental skills to get you playing the ukulele. We'll work on rhythm, strumming patterns, and some fingerpicking. With a few basic chords, you can play along with others and accompany yourself on a multitude of songs. $25 materials fee

    Vocal Performance Choir
    If you love to sing, this class is for you. Experience the joy of singing with other students from around the world. Students will learn vocal development through proper breath control, articulation, ear training and presentation. Our daily practices will prepare you to share your vocal talents with your fellow campers, instructors, and family members at our final student concert. Come sing, grow, and learn with us!

  • Sports & Movement

    Our sports and movement classes offer campers the opportunity to learn and build camaraderie through active play. Through a variety of sports, exercise, and dance, we will foster health, fitness, and teamwork. Campers should come to class prepared with appropriate attire.

    Advanced Recess
    Don’t care what you do as long as you can get out and run around? This class is for you! Bringing back old school recess favorites like street hockey and dodgeball, as well as new favorites like Ultimate Frisbee, this class will have you on your feet and out in the summer sun. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Basketball
    We’ll focus on introducing and developing fundamental basketball skills through a variety of fun drills, games, and scrimmages. You will practice shooting form, dribbling, and passing as well as offensive and defensive footwork and principles.

    Capoeira: Fight, Dance, Rhythm, and Movement
    Developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil to fight against colonial oppression, this “dance of war” weaves tradition, history, spirituality, and philosophy into a uniquely beautiful art form. Combining elements of breakdancing and martial arts, with a soundtrack of Brazilian songs and instruments, this class is a great way to gain flexibility and strength while learning how to express yourself through your body.

    Filipino Fencing
    The Philippines are home to some of the most comprehensive and exciting martial arts in the world today. Among all other styles, some say the Filipino skill with the sword is unmatched. In this class, we will use padded training sticks as tools while we learn this beautiful art form.

    Fitness Studio
    Our fitness class is all about having fun while getting an education about proper exercise technique, strengthening our bodies, and improving our cardiovascular conditioning. We will also learn ways to incorporate fitness activities and exercises into our daily lives that will help keep us strong, committed, and healthy!

    Hip-Hop & Breakdancing
    Calling all b-boys and b-girls! Join us as we explore elements of hip-hop such as popping, locking, and breaking as well as freestyle movement to give students the opportunity to develop their own sense of style. We’ll also focus on motivation, confidence, and teamwork—join the NWS Crew!

    NetSports
    Enjoy summertime favorites volleyball, badminton, and tennis. Practice serving, rallying, and spiking as you challenge each other in teams. Then grab a racquet and practice your swing in badminton and tennis as you pair up in doubles or establish your independence in singles. This class may be held outside, if weather permits. Requires tennis shoes with non-marking soles.

    Self Defense
    Develop the emotional and physical acuity to go from idle to “ready to react.” Drawing from martial arts, including Kali/Escrima, Aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Silat, this class will give you the skills and resources to protect yourself in a wide array of situations. We will also explore non-violent personal safety tactics for you to keep handy in your pocket and ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

    Soccer
    Build your skills in the world’s favorite sport! We’ll practice standard moves, learn new strategies that we will put into play during scrimmages. This class will be held outside rain or shine.

    Yoga Studio
    This class is about exploring flexibility, strength, and relaxation. Practicing yoga postures can create stronger focus, better sleep, and happier people. We will laugh, move, stretch, breathe, and lie on the floor. We will study proper alignment, anatomy, and learn how to live in and feel our bodies.

  • Theatre & Language Arts

    Improvisational Theatre
    Improvisation is the ability to make things up on the spot—a skill that comes in handy in many aspects of life! In this class, we will explore the basics of improv through exercises in agreement, commitment, spontaneity, and listening. You will test your creativity as well as build your confidence.

    One Act Plays
    Learn the inner workings of the theater world by exploring your creativity through one act plays. We will select the play(s), improvise the set, and put on a performance for our fellow campers. If time allows, we may even develop our own script!

    Writing: Composing an Essay
    Learn to write essays by examining the strategies that other writers use. We will begin by reading, summarizing, and analyzing various speeches written by activists such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the second week, we will work to incorporate some of these strategies into our own writing in order to create evidence-based persuasive essays. Must be native English speakers Must be native English speaker. Intended for students ages 13+

    Writing: Creative Studio
    In this class, we will learn how to craft stories and poems by thinking about genre, plot structure, and rhyme scheme. We will write several short stories and poems that play with the genre conventions of historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, children's literature, and biography. Students will also contribute to the Literary Magazine, a newsletter produced by the camp's journalism class. Must be native-English speaker or have intermediate ELL skills.

    Writing: The Fundamentals
    Learn to define, recognize, and correctly use the subject, predicate, noun, pronoun, verb tense, irregular verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, and clause. You will also master periods, commas, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, hyphens, question marks, and quotation marks.

    Writing: Poetry Slam
    Spend part of your summer expressing your thoughts through poetry. We will listen to, read, write, and perform poetry. Primarily a writing workshop, we will spend time in and out of the classroom with various writing prompts. After writing, we will share, discuss, edit, and practice sharing our poetry aloud.

  • Visual Arts

    Ceramics: Functional Pottery
    Want to make a new coffee mug for your mom? Perhaps you want a one-of-a-kind cereal bowl. Using coil building and slab work, you will find gratification in creating, from scratch, an item to use in everyday life

    Ceramics: Shaping Sculptures
    Take a lump of clay and turn it into art! In this class, we will explore clay-handling techniques as you learn to represent gesture, proportion, mass, structure, and surface form in three dimensions.

    Comic Art & Illustration
    Build your drawing skills and create your own original comic. In this class, you’ll develop a signature style while learning the art of storytelling through 2D interpretations of action, sound, and expression. $25 materials fee

    Glass Mosaic Studio
    In this companion class to our popular Stained Glass Studio, you’ll learn the art of cutting, grinding, and affixing colorful stained glass to a solid background. You’ll be able to use your new skills while you cover your own object with a mosaic design that you create. $25 materials fee

    Jewelry Making Studio
    Design your own wax molds, enamel your own rings, set your own stones, and learn to do it all under the tutelage of our professional artist! We will experiment with traditional and contemporary mediums to create unique wearable works of art. $25 materials fee

    Create, Print, Repeat
    Focusing on graphic arts, we will make 2D, 3D, and art installation pieces related to printmaking processes, such as line engraving, etching, and screen printing. Starting with a strong graphic foundation, we’ll transfer our work to a variety of mediums, including fiber, fabric, paper, and wood, to design pieces that can be easily multiplied. Finally, we’ll gather our projects for a pop-up art installation at the camp showcase. $25 materials fee

    Painting Studio
    Exploring the fundamental concepts with form and brush, you will learn the properties of paint, and become comfortable with color mixing, brush handling, and color temperature. We will draw inspiration from different genres as we work with still life, the natural landscape, and our imaginations! $25 materials fee

    Photography: Alternative Processes
    We will work in the darkroom to create photographic images using alternative old school processes. Using pinhole cameras, paper negatives, and alternative films, campers will explore liquid emulsion, cyanotypes, photograms, emulsion lifts, and image toning. $50 materials fee

    Photography: Going Old School!
    Learn photography the old-school way! With your own 35mm manual, or using one of ours, you will master the basic camera functions and develop your photos in our professional dark room. $50 materials fee

    Photography: Your Digital World
    In this class, spend some time outside taking pictures and then spend time inside learning how to transform the images with Adobe Photoshop. Practice finding a good photo wherever you are, regardless of your environment. Then, learn how to make subtle changes to your photos to make them just that much better (as many professionals do) and also how to completely change your photos. Be ready to share your work with the class and (optionally) the whole camp. Students must bring their own digital camera. $25 materials fee

    Portrait Studio
    Learn to capture someone’s personality in your art. We’ll work on understanding the face and features better, but will also learn ways to show expression and character. We’ll focus on drawing technique as the foundation of portraiture, but will also explore different mediums such as paint and charcoal. $25 materials fee

    Silkscreening Studio
    Create your own t-shirt print! In this class, you will design, cut, and prep your own unique design. We will then build our own screens to transfer our designs to t-shirts. $25 materials fee

    Stained Glass Studio
    Learn to design magnificent pieces under the instruction of a professional stained glass artist. Choose from a variety of patterns, then cut out glass shapes, work with lead-free solder, and create a one-of-a-kind piece that will fill any space with color and light. $25 materials fee

    Stop Motion Animation
    Come explore the original form of animation! We will work together to write a script, design and develop characters and props, and explore filmmaking skills such as lighting, camerawork, and editing. Whether using clay, household items, or ourselves, we’ll create a short film to share with the camp community. $25 materials fee

Summer Camp