2021 Classes & Descriptions

Classes will look different this year!

Classes will be the same engaging topics that you have come to expect from The Northwest School, but they will be arranged slightly differently. 

Each week, campers will select a pair of classes, and attend the same two classes every day with the same small group (Cohort). 

2021 Cohort Class Pairings:

Registration for Summer 2021 is now closed! Thanks for an awesome summer!

Week 1,  July 5-9 

  • Cohort A: Leadership for Social Justice & Stained Glass Studio
  • Cohort B: Chemistry & Film/Animation
  • Cohort C: Ceramics & Urban Hiking
  • Cohort D: Urban Gardening & Math (Algebra/Geometry)
  • Cohort F: Painting & Sports
  • Cohort I: Writing III & Yoga

Week 2,  July 12-16 

  • Cohort A: Leadership for Social Justice & Stained Glass
  • Cohort B: Chemistry & Sports
  • Cohort C: Ceramics & Writing I
  • Cohort E: Marine Biology & Theater
  • Cohort G: Sports & Film/Animation
  • Cohort H: Robotics & Writing II
  • Cohort J: Digital Photography & Urban Hiking

Week 3, July 19-23 

  • Cohort B: Chemistry & Sports
  • Cohort C: Ceramics & Math (PreAlgebra)
  • Cohort E: Human Biology & Theater
  • Cohort F: Painting & Writing II
  • Cohort H: Robotics & Urban Hiking
  • Cohort I: Film/Animation & Yoga
  • Cohort J: Digital Photography & Math (Algebra/Geometry)

Week 4, July 26-30 - 

  • Cohort A: Architecture & Writing I
  • Cohort B: Chemistry & Drawing
  • Cohort C: Ceramics & Math (Algebra/Geometry)
  • Cohort E: Self Defense & Human Biology
  • Cohort F: Math (PreAlgebra) & Writing II
  • Cohort J: Digital Photography & Fitness

Week 5, August 2-6 

  • Cohort A: Architecture & Writing II
  • Cohort C: Ceramics & Fitness
  • Cohort D: Urban Gardening & Happiness
  • Cohort E: Self Defense & Writing I
  • Cohort G: Sports & Drawing
  • Cohort J: Digital Photography & Marine Biology

Week 6, August 9-13 

  • Cohort A: Architecture & Math (PreAlgebra)
  • Cohort D: Urban Gardening & Happiness
  • Cohort E: Self Defense & Marine Biology
  • Cohort F: Sewing & Writing I
  • Cohort G: Sports & Drawing
  • Cohort H: Robotics & Leadership for Social Justice
  • Cohort I: Dance & Math (Algebra/Geometry)
  • Cohort J: Digital Photography & Urban Hiking

2021 Class Offerings:


We are excited to partner again with the Seattle Architecture Foundation!
In this deep dive into the world of architectural modeling, the class will learn about the use of models in architectural practice, while exploring the many different forms a “model” can take. 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 a variety of professional modeling materials.

Human Biology

Why does your heart speed up when you exercise? Why do you need sleep? What is a vaccine and how do they work? We will answer these questions and more as we explore how the human body functions. Using the current pandemic as a guiding topic, we will investigate how diseases spread, why our bodies react the way they do, and what we can do to help ourselves and our families stay healthy.

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!


Take a lump of clay and turn it into art! In this class, we will explore clay-handling techniques including coil building and slab work as you learn to design and build with clay. Your finished product may be a sculpture or a useful item, but it will be messy and fun.


You can try this at home! Explore the basics of chemistry using common household materials. Explore pH with cabbage juice, make polymers with glue, and generate heat with baking soda.  Besides just being fun, home chemistry experiments are a great way to get a jump on understanding fundamental concepts in physical, analytic and inorganic chemistry.


No previous dance experience and perfect for the person who is willing to try new things. Learn to create expressive and original movement through improvisational exploration to the musical rhythms of jazz, blues, and hip-hop! Through articulated exploration of shape, line, and form the dancer will develop and create dances that are fun, meaningful, and unique. Everyone can dance!     


Learn techniques to make drawing your favorite form of self-expression. Using a variety of media – graphite, charcoal, ink, and colored pencil –observe and capture the world around you on paper.  Develop your style as you practice storytelling through comic drawing or get the lighting on that flower just right.   

Farm & Garden

Trace the food we eat from the soil to the plate. Get your hands dirty in The Northwest School’s own Urban Farm and Garden, then wash up to enjoy the “fruits” of your labor. Explore urban farms and food deserts and discover the ideal soil and water conditions for growing delicious, healthy food in a city.

Film & Animation

In the world of film, 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. Make your vision come to life in animation or live action as you tell your story.


Run faster, jump higher, be stronger. All athletes compete at their best when they pay attention to overall conditioning. We’ll get in a full workout and do some mindfulness and meditation too. Discuss the proper nutrition that fuels our bodies, practice the best way to stretch for better flexibility, and commit to make exercise a fun, lifelong journey.


Psychologists agree that happiness is a vital key to success. The past year has taken a toll on our mental health and attitudes, but we can still find ways to be happy. Our class will include activities in mindfulness, mandalas, journaling, gratitude, and giving. We'll explore the science behind happiness and learn how to incorporate happiness habits into your own life.  So, what are you waiting for? Let's get happy! 

Leadership for Social Justice

Learn to build relationships as a platform for our leadership development. How can we become better collaborators, better community builders, and better facilitators? Through field trips and guests, along with a variety of fun and engaging activities, this is the perfect place to find tools to "be the change you want to see in the world."

Math (PreAlgebra)

Whether you are looking to get a jump start on middle school math or just trying to keep current with your studies, this class will challenge you to ground basic skills in visual models and physical manipulatives called Algebra Lab Gear. We will define a variable, balance equations, combine like terms, find the area, volume, and surface area of shapes, identify patterns and much more. Intended for students ages 10-13

Math (Algebra/Geometry)

Nervous about starting high school math or feeling a bit behind after this mixed-up year? This class is meant to bolster skills from middle school to increase your math capability and confidence. We will practice algebraic thinking, develop methods and strategies for solving equations, play with polynomials, and get into geometry. Math can be fun for everyone!   Intended for students ages 12-16


Painting classes will explore fundamental concepts with paint and brush. Focus on color theory, brush handling and composition while creating both abstract and realistic images. Draw inspiration from still life, the natural landscape, and your own imagination as you work in acrylic paint on canvas or watercolor on paper.


Get to know the language of professional digital photography. Spend time outside taking pictures, and then move into the lab to transform the images with Adobe® Photoshop®. Practice finding a good photo wherever you are, regardless of your environment. Then, make subtle changes to make it that much better or completely change the look of your photo. Bringing your own camera or phone or borrow a camera from us.


Custom build your own robot or hot rod! Working in teams, we will create a mechanical structure, design and build an electronic system, and program the software. With in-class competitions, we’ll continue to refine our creations to be better, faster, stronger, or more accurate.

Self Defense

Develop the emotional and physical acuity to go from idle to “ready to react.” Drawing from a variety of martial arts, this class will give you the skills and resources to protect yourself in a wide array of situations. Focus on body positions and mechanics will allow for maintaining physical distancing. Explore non-violent personal safety tactics for you to keep handy in your pocket and ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.

Sewing – Fashion Studio

Alter, upcycle, re-style. Personalize your style and repurpose found fabrics and thrift-store finds into something cool and uniquely you. Whether you design clothes, creatures, or a new bag, practice the foundational sewing skills of measuring, cutting, stitching and finishing. Using combination of hand and machine sewing, you will breathe life into a design that is totally yours.  


Our sports classes offer campers the opportunity to learn and build camaraderie through active play. Through a variety of sports and exercise, we will foster health, fitness, and teamwork. Classes will decide as a group each day what sport or activity you want to work on. Campers should come to class prepared with appropriate attire, footwear, and a personal waterbottle.

Stained Glass Studio

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


Improvisation (or improv theater) 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.

Urban Hiking

Often referred to as the Emerald City, Seattle is an urban gem full of hidden natural oases, sweeping vistas, historic landmarks, and amazing art installations. Whether you are a local Seattleite, or new visitor to the city, you will discover that Seattle is best explored by foot. This class is a great opportunity to connect with fellow campers, enjoy the Seattle summer, and discover the physical and mental benefits a simple walk can provide.

Campers in writing classes will need to bring a laptop or tablet device. A limited number will be available to borrow, contact the camp office in advance if needed.

Writing I – Getting Ready for Middle School

Going beyond grammar, this class will focus on project-based writing and help students develop research skills necessary for assignments they may encounter during the school year. Students will practice writing, proof-reading peers’ work, and expanding vocabulary. Ideal for 10-12 year olds getting ready for Middle School or intermediate ELL.

Writing II - Intermediate composition

Writing is self-expression. The sense of self that develops in middle school lasts a life-time, and now is the time to write it down. This class will focus on intermediate writing skills in both creative and research-based genres. Ideal for 12-14 year olds in middle school or transitioning to high school, and advanced ELL students.

Writing III – Advanced writers

Poetry, persuasive essays, creative novellas, and bias in the media.  Being able to write expressively, persuasively, and concisely is not a lost art. You will spend your time in this class writing, reading, sharing, and critiquing. Ideal for native English, early high school students looking to up their writing game.

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, and breathe while studying proper alignment, anatomy, and how to live in and feel our bodies. 

Summer Camp