Water World (Grades 5-6)

April 29-May 4, 2018
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA

A Full Immersion Arts & Science Experience…

Water World was amazing because the aquatic learning involves art, movement, and writing allowing for the interests of all my students. They leave charged up and excited about the learning. ~ Stephanie Agnew, West Valley City School

Water World, a dynamic collaboration between Centrum and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, is filled with activities and projects that expand and enhance elementary students’ experience of the marine world through the lenses of both science and art.

In collaboration with artists, scientists, and peers from across the state, students integrate scientific investigations with creative writing, dance, and visual art. The result is a multi-faceted, full immersion learning experience.

Students work in small groups that rotate through activities in the field as well as in laboratories, performance studios, and natural history exhibits. Each day offers a mix of both scientific and artistic workshops. The group size is small to allow for maximum personal attention and minimum impact on fragile environments.

Evening programs include storytelling, activities at the Marine Science Center, and a student presentation on the final night, showcasing new learning about marine ecosystems and sharing artistic creations.

Tuition, room and board is $515, and scholarships are available. For this program, student groups of 4 to 6 sign up with an adult chaperone. Tuition, room and board is free for chaperones.

Scholarship Deadline: March 19, 2018; Notifications the week of March 26. This program fills quickly. We advise registering early to secure a place in the program- don’t wait for the deadline!

This program is made possible through Centrum’s continuing partnership with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington State Arts Commission.


Drawing, Naturally! 

In this exploration of nature through visual art, Natalie will guide students in illustrating and depicting new discoveries in a handmade artists’ journal. Students will develop new skills in artistic observation and spontaneous creativity as they find a variety of ways to detail the natural world around them.

Experiments Writing In the Field

Inspired by marine science – its methods, creatures, plants and stories – the Vis-à-Vis Society will use observation, games, and improv  theater to generate creative writing in many forms. We will explore the landscape of Fort Worden to find words and characters and use our scientific discoveries to fuel our imaginations. Founder and charter members of the Cephalopod Appreciation Society, Sierra and Rachel have been collaborating as writers and performers for over 15 years and are excited to share some of their playful and unusual techniques that bring writing to another level! Ask them about becoming members of the Cephalopod Society!

Bio-Art—It’s Alive! 
If art imitates life, how do we imitate “aliveness”? In this workshop we will explore the lively terrain between art and play and human and nature. Using our original instruments, body and voice, and our natural imitative abilities, we will study how nature shapes itself (waves, weather, erosion, plant and animal forms, life and death cycles, etc.) and how humans use story, poetry, music and dance to reflect the natural world.

The Port Townsend Marine Science inquiry activities focus on hands-on learning about the wonders of the Salish Sea ecosystem.

Plankton Lab
During this inquiry lab, students become scientists working together to collect a sample from the Marine Science Center’s dock and then use microscopes to discover, identify and draw the life teaming in a drop of water. Much of what they will discover in the sample is plankton, which is the basis of the marine food web in Puget Sound. Discussions touch on the role of plankton in the marine food web, plankton adaptation, distribution of plankton world-wide, and/or the chemistry of plankton growth in the Puget Sound.

Introduction to Invertebrates
Marine invertebrates make up some of the most interesting and colorful members of Puget Sound’s marine life. Students will explore touch-tanks filled with local invertebrates, observing the strategies these organisms use for feeding, movement and protection. From their observations, students define the basic characteristics of four major invertebrate groups. Finally, they choose an animal and create a detailed scientific drawing.

Science in the Field
During one full day outdoors, students explore three different aquatic environments – a freshwater pond, brackish lagoon and the shore of the open ocean.  Through observation of plants and animals, water quality measurements and group discussion, students learn to recognize the characteristics of each habitat.  In the process, they also develop a deeper awareness of the importance of wild, undisturbed habitats, and the best ways to live in harmony with nature.

Other class content will integrate current issues, sustainability and scientific research of the Salish Sea.


(L to R: Natalie Dupille, Sierra Nelson & Rachel Kessler, Christian Swenson, Carolyn Wood)

Natalie Dupille is a cartoonist, illustrator, and educator who specializes in watercolor and ink illustration and comics. She also works in book arts, letterpress, and fused glass. Natalie has exhibited her books and prints at shows in both the Pacific Northwest and Australia and worked in schools and youth programs throughout the Seattle area.

Sierra Nelson and Rachel Kessler have been writing, performing, and creating installations together for over 15 years as co-founders of the literary performance groups “The Typing Explosion” and “Vis-à-Vis Society.” Rachel Kessler is also a poet, essayist, and comics artist. Poet and essayist Sierra Nelson has taught creative writing at University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Marine Labs.

Christian Swenson  has performed and taught throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and Nepal. He was “The Monster” in the Minnesota Opera’s production of Frankenstein, has appeared at New York’s Lincoln Center, and has been featured with the New York Improvisation Festival with The Flying Karamazov Brother’s New Old Time Chautauqua.

Carolyn Woods is the Education Coordinator at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. In her many different roles at the Marine Science Center she has led education programs on a variety of Salish Sea marine biology topics from plankton to sea birds, in addition to responding to the occasional stranded seal pup or diving deep into dissecting a beached gray whale. She enjoys incorporating art into hands-on science lessons whenever possible.

This program is generously funded by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Additional sponsors include ArtsWA, The Baker Foundation, Jubilation Foundation, the Congdon Hanson Family, and nearly a thousand individual donors whose generosity celebrates the power of creativity to change lives.