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Posts Tagged "science"

What's That Green Stuff? Seniors Complete Their Independent Biology Experiments.

January 07, 2019
By Karen Mattick

Initial phytoplankton culture for a senior’s Biology project - Karen Mattick photoOf all the experiments running in the Life Science classroom during the seniors’ biology experiments, the bubbling beakers filled with something vividly green received the most attention. That green stuff is Nannochloropsis phytoplankton. The experiment investigated the effects of salinity on the photosynthesis rate of these microscopic plants. The student made use of a dissolved oxygen sensor from our growing collection of electronic sensors in order to measure changing photosynthesis rates.

This experiment is one example of the fifteen student-designed investigations created this year as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program’s Internal Assessments. Read more >>>

Posted in Academics

WSA Robotics Team is Headed to State Championship in February

December 17, 2018
By Lionel Pummell

WSA Robotics team at work in the pits - December 15, 2018WSA’s Robotics team competed in the Feynman Interleague championship event of the FIRST Tech Challenge on December 15 at the Amazon Doppler building in Seattle. Thirty-seven schools from the Puget Sound area competed in the event. After a long day of intense competition WSA’s team made it into the semi-finals finishing second in qualifying points. Robotics competition arena - December 15, 2018Team captain Aidan Phelan then choose two teams to ally with, the Spartabots from Skyline High School and the Titanium Talons from Woodinville High School. WSA along with their allies won their semi-final match moving on to the finals. After a tough series of matches WSA's alliance was defeated by the alliance lead by the CPR Eagles from Cedar Park Christian School. Having earned enough qualifying points and placing well in the competition did earn WSA Robotics a spot in the upcoming state championship.  Next up: WSA Robotics will be competing in the State Championship event on February 10 at the ShoWare Center in Kent.

Congratulations to our team, and ... GO HAWKS!!!

The 2018-2019 WSA Robotics team

The WSA Robotics team (left to right):Catherine Zhang, Adam Tucker, Gwen Moritz, Aidan Phelan (captain), Emma Longworth-Slone, Pau López (holding team robot), Noah Moosmiller, Corwin Taylor, Caleb Phelan (holding team trophy), Sam Hopper, and Michael Gao.

Two Teams, Two First Place Finishes: WSA Robotics and Knowledge Bowl

December 03, 2018
By Susan Trower

WSA Robotics team at work - December 2, 2018WSA's Robotics team competed in their second interleague qualifier event of the FIRST Tech Challenge season on December 2 at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma. Thirteen schools from around the Olympic Peninsula and Tacoma are in the Maxwell League of Washington State's FIRST Tech Challenge and competed in the event. WSA's team won all five of their matches to take first place! Thank you to our sponsors!Coaches Spencer Tryba, Jen David, and Lionel Pummell were very pleased with the terrific effort from the team. Next up: WSA Robotics will be going to the interleague championship event on December 15 at the Amazon Doppler Building in Seattle. 

2018-2019 WSA KB team - Tina Cachules photoA couple days earlier, on November 30, WSA's Knowledge Bowl team competed in the first regional competition of the season at North Mason High School in Belfair.  Teams came from schools throughout the Olympic Educational Service District area, from Port Townsend to Olympia. West Sound's top squad, WS1 (also known as "Team Manifest Westiny"), took first place with 103 points for the day, 16 points higher than the second place team. Coaches Catherine Freeman and Lionel Pummell were very happy with the day's scores. The next regional competition for is January 10, followed by the State qualifier on February 7.

Congratulations to our Robotics and Knowledge Bowl teams! ...and GO HAWKS!!!

June, 2018: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

May 30, 2018
By Susan Trower

Quinn, Sparky, and Imane in the Music Ensemble June Term class  June 7:          


       June Term music      

   for parents and friends

Paul Burback, Director
Indianola Clubhouse
6:30 p.m.

 Last day of school before summer vacation, 1954 - Britannica ImageQuestJune 8:


      June Term

                    Take place in the Commons
                   There is EARLY DISMISSAL
                               at 12:00 Noon
See Image Galleries for an album of photos from all of the 2018 June Term classes and TRECs!

Hiking trail at Mt. Rainier National Park - Britannica ImageQuest June 11 - August 28:


       There is


June 11 - August 28

for Summer Vacation


See you on Wednesday, August 29 for the first day of school for 2018-2019!

Posted in All School

Marinas that keep BOTH boaters & the eels swimming under them happy!

December 01, 2016
By Karen Mattick

6th Graders Obi, Tyler, and Henri admire one of the marina projects in Marine Biology classIn 2001 I read an article in The Seattle Times about the expansion of the Washington State ferry terminal on Whidbey Island, designed to mitigate damage to the eelgrass beds under the proposed dock.  That inspired the Eelgrass Mitigation Project.  This is a culminating project at the end of the 6th grade Marine Biology unit about eelgrass beds.  Students design and build a model of a marina that would provide services to boaters and, at the same time, get adequate light to marine plants, prevent sewage pollution, and clean-up fuel contamination.

6th grader Sofia and one of the marina projects from her Marine Biology classDuring the unit, students learn about the value of eelgrass beds as a nursery for many juvenile sea creatures.  They learn about the adaptions of the many organisms who live in the grass.  They learn about photosynthesis and cellular respiration and about food webs in the eelgrass habitat.  They also design and carried out their own oil spill experiments, testing clean-up materials. Each student also collects water samples from local ponds, creeks, puddles, and beaches and tests for fecal coliform contamination, a possible indicator of sewage pollution. Finally, they used Puget Soundbook, by Jim Kolb, to learn about good boater practices.

Students presented their marina models in class today, and shared the websites, brochures, and slide shows they made to advertise their marinas and educate boaters.

Posted in Academics

December, 2016: Coming Up at West Sound Academy

November 30, 2016
By Susan Trower

Frodel Hall on the West Sound Academy campus - Mark Gsellman photoDecember 3:

Open House
December 3, 2016
10 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Open Houses introduce our faculty and program to interested families.

Visitors will learn about our academics and extracurricular activities, meet the Head of School and some of the faculty and students, and take a tour of the campus. Anyone interested in joining us for an Open House cn email to Lisa Gsellman at  For a map and driving directions to West Sound Academy, click here.

Hour of CodeDecember 6:

On December 16, 2016, during the last hour of the school day.... WSA students are doing an

              Hour of Code!


going through their choice of a selection of programming tutorials.


West Sound Academy Hawks!December 8:


Knowledge Bowl Competition
        Practice Scrimmage

Fort Worden, Port Townsend

KB team members: 

  • Arrive at school by 7:30 a.m.
  • Leave WSA: 7:45 a.m.
  • Return to WSA: by 3:45 p.m.
  • Bring a lunch and water bottle

December 9:


Friday Sound is back!

Members of the band Tuesday - l to r, Max Metters, River Gsellman, Alessandro Scott, Emily Bradford, and Lucius VigeantDoors open at 6:30 p.m.
Show starts at 7:00 p.m.
Come to the Commons for live music by local bands and performers,
Red Tape
Eleventy One
Quinn Lanning
$5 for students, $7 for adults, $15 for families of 3 or more
Friday Sound is a Listen to Your Art program.

Snowflake - Britannica ImageQuestDecember 19 - January 2:


       There is


December 19, 2016 - January 2, 2017

for Winter Break


WSA Yearbook Photo ContestDecember 31:


Yearbook Contest                  

Yearbook Club would love to have your photos of WSA student life!
Use the ReplayIt app to upload your pics 
email them to Angie at:
Two winners will be chosen for December!
Deadline for this month's entries:

December 31


See you back at school on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 for Finals Review Week!

Posted in All School

WSA Awarded 'Book Grant' from the Washington State Library:  Collection of 50 STEM Titles

February 11, 2016
By Susan Trower

Spencer found a book that look's interesting:  The Toaster Project, by Thomas ThwaitesOn February 9 some juniors from Karen Mattick's Biology class came up to the library to help with one of the more fun library tasks - not dusting shelves or putting books in Dewey Decimal order - but unpacking new books.  Lots of new science books (54 to be exact) that came as part of the Washington State Library (WSL) "The Future STEMs from Reading' grant to West Sound Academy.

The grant from the Washington State Library came about as a response to the need for school libraries to update their materials in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).  An advisory committee of teacher-librarians worked with WSL to put together STEM book collections aimed at elementary, middle, and high school students from lists of award-winning books. The program was funded with support from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists A competive grant cycle was held for the 230 STEM collections available for public and nonprofit private school libraries: 120 for elementary, 55 for middle school, and 55 for high school. West Sound Academy was awarded one of the high school collections, and the boxes of books arrived this week.  

After cataloging and labeling is done, the books will be ready for use in classes or for some recreational nerd-reading.  WSA science teacher Karen Mattick contemplated using one of the books, The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science:  50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists in her classroom.  "As long as they aren't too catastrophic, this one could work," she ruled.

Posted in Academics

Let’s answer the question ‘Why?’

December 18, 2015
By Lisa Gsellman

If you know me, you know I love this school. If you meet me, you will find out shortly that I really love this school. But when asked “Why?” Wyatt and Kai asking 'Why?'I sometimes find myself fumbling for words to describe what makes West Sound Academy so….lovable.

What is it that we have here that seems to be working so well? Is it the faculty? Is it the students? Families? IB? The peaceful campus? I find myself asking more questions than answering!

We are an International Baccalaureate School and the IB learner profile fits us like a glove. We are not guided by it but it comes to us organically simply through our own curiosity. We are inquirers. We are open-minded. We are risk takers. We are reflective. We all are caring. That is the sweet spot. That is the ‘why.’

I’d like to share a short and inspiring Ted Talk by Ramsey Mussallam with you about why ‘Why’ is so important in our classrooms.

Students here are transformed by their own curiosity and their search to find the answers. Inspiration flows between teachers and students as they work together exploring solutions. Kindness, encouragement, and inquisitiveness have become the culture of West Sound Academy. When I see those bright smiles from grasping a difficult math concept, or writing a great essay, or nailing a guitar solo, I am absolutely filled up with love and inspiration for this school.

Posted in Academics


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