Category Archives: Science

Marine Ecology of the Puget Sound (hannah)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Puget Sound is the second largest estuary in the United States. Its numerous glacier-carved channels and branches are fed by freshwater from 19 different river basins that flow down from the Olympic and Cascade Mountains to the wetlands, salt marshes, and bays of the sound. Puget Sound’s climate, extensive shoreline, nutrient-rich waters, and diverse habitats sustain a variety of wildlife. 

By utilizing the plentiful resources and curricula developed at UW, Western, and elsewhere nearby, we will study the dynamic, living systems that exist in the Puget Sound. We will learn about the different ecosystems and how they connect, getting to know local animals, plants, and habitats. We will discuss the environmental changes that threaten species and ecosystem survival as well as the sustainable solutions we can enact to keep the sound healthy. 

This class will include trips to the shores of the sound. Get to know your biome better! With SCIENCE!

Super Simple Data Science (Michael J. Coffey)

Let’s be clear.  Doing data science isn’t exactly simple.  However, it’s entirely possible to go from only knowing basic math to understanding the ideas behind the most popular techniques in data science.  If you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and feel pretty comfortable with decimals and percentages and fractions, you can understand fancy-sounding methods like support vector machines, and linear regression, and hierarchical clustering, all of which are techniques used by professional data scientists.

To give a quick example:  The price of an item and how many people decide to buy are related.  The higher the price, the fewer get purchased.  The idea behind linear regression is just to use math to draw a line on a graph that best summarizes the relationship.  (For those in algebra, it’s an application of the slope-intercept formula.)

We will be talking about what the techniques are, how they work, and when they might be more or less useful.  This class is a calculation-light sampler of what you could do if you decided to learn more math and become a data scientist.  Or if you don’t want to be a data scientist, you will at least be better able to understand what they say and do.

If you took Thinking with Math or Living with Math, this class will be aimed at being only slightly more “mathy.”  It’ll be less mathy than Algebra I.

About the instructor: Michael describes chocolate as "delicious."

Measurement Lab (Scobie)

Science depends intimately on measurement. This will be a hands-on science class focusing on many kinds of measurement. You’ll keep a lab book, use measurement tools, constantly practice approximation, get familiar with many units of measurement*, learn about formulas for volume, grok the difference between mass and weight, understand balance measurements, density, angles, temperature, do math associated with measurement, solve measurement puzzles, and do some hands-0n chemistry that requires…. you guessed it: measurement!

*(with a strong focus on SI or Systeme Internationale measurements, the common measurement language of international science)

Astronomy (MS/HS) (Sam)


Astronomy (MS/HS)

Astronomy is perhaps the science whose discoveries owe least to chance, in which human understanding appears in its whole magnitude, and through which man can best learn how small he is.” – Georg C. Lichtenberg, German scientist

This class will introduce you to the composition and structure of the universe. Astronomy is the scientific study of the contents of the entire Universe. This course will provide the student with a study of the universe and the conditions, properties, and motions of bodies in space. The content includes, but is not limited to, historical astronomy, astronomical instruments, the celestial sphere, the solar system, the earth as a system in space, the earth/moon system, the sun as a star, and stars.

Some class activities to expect:

Note Taking


Short Answer quizzes

Scientific Exploration

Research and Discovery-based work