Classroom visits

A field trip may not be in your plans, but now some PTMSC programs can come to you.

The following classroom experiences will:

  • Provide a deeper dive into science content with engaging activities
  • Connect your students to PTMSC instructors and resources 
  • Inspire them to learn more about the marine environment
  • Address NextGen science standards and Ocean Literacy

Even if you can’t come to the beach, we can bring the Salish Sea to you.

General information

  • Program cost, each class – $300
  • Travel fee
    • Within a 15-mile radius of PTMSC – $30
    • An additional fee may be assessed for trips involving ferry transit
    • Special arrangements may be made for schools outside of our regular travel zone. Please contact us for information and pricing.
  • Prices are subject to change without notice
  • Class length – 60 minutes
  • All options involve either dynamic games to bring concepts to life, and/or real specimens from our collection here at PTMSC
  • All our classes for students support Next Gen Science Standards and ocean literacy
  • The appropriate grade-level range is provided below for each class, and can be further tailored for the specific grade level of your students
  • Scholarships are available. See the Financial Aid page for more information
Health & safety
  • Masks are optional
  • All staff and volunteers are vaccinated
  • PTMSC follows the health and safety guidelines of the CDC

Please request your program at least 4 weeks in advance. With less than 4 weeks notice, please contact us first to see if we can accommodate your request.

For questions, further details, or help scheduling a program, contact Gabriele Sanchez, 360-385-5582 x120,

Program descriptions

Sea Star Gazing

Grades 2-4

Explore the unique body plan and adaptations of sea stars and the role they play in the Salish Sea ecosystem via photos, diagrams, and dried specimens. We will also investigate recent challenges for sea star populations on the West Coast and what scientists have discovered. Finally, students will use their new knowledge of sea star anatomy to draw their own sea star species.

Room and supply requirements
  • Projector/screen for slides (PTMSC brings laptop/USB drive)
  • Drawing supplies – paper, markers, crayons, etc.

Lonely Abalone

Grades 3-4

Students learn about the ecological connections and life history of a local endangered species, the Pinto abalone, by playing a floor-sized board game modeling the efforts of local conservation groups to restore the population.

Room and supply requirements
  • Projector/screen for slides (PTMSC brings laptop/USB drive)
  • ~ 15′ x 15′ clear floor space for game board

Fishery Frenzy

Grades 4-8

Dive into human and ecosystem interactions by modeling a fishery in the Salish Sea! Students make decisions as a group about how best to manage the fishery for economic and environmental sustainability. Through several iterations of the activity they discover which methods are most effective in achieving target species sustainability and reducing bycatch.

Room and supply requirements
  • Floor space is needed to accommodate a 6’ diameter pool, with 5-6 feet of room around the pool for student movement

Life at the Top: Biomagnification

Grades 5-8

Students model a Salish Sea food chain and predator-prey population dynamics via an active game. The model also incorporates the effects of pollution and resulting biomagnification, emphasizing impacts to apex predators such as orcas. Students will discuss how toxic pollution enters marine environments and brainstorm ideas for prevention; local examples will be reviewed as well.

Room and supply requirements
  • A 16’ x 16’ clear floor space is required for range of movement during the game; minimum recommended class size of 16 students

Marine Debris Lab

Grades 5 and up

Students investigate the impact of marine debris by examining specimens from an affected species, the Laysan albatross. After reviewing how the animal’s life history and movement patterns make it vulnerable to marine debris, students use a timeline activity to better understand the effect that specific items and materials are having on the environment. Finally, students brainstorm ways that individuals and communities can address this problem, and specific local examples are provided.

Room and supply requirements
  • A ~ 12′ x 4′ clear floor space to set up the timeline activity

Intro to Marine Mammals

Grades 5 and up

Whales, seals, sea lions, and more! Students define characteristics of mammals, and then further investigate marine mammal adaptations with photos, videos, bones, pelts, and other specimens. Working in small groups, participants examine and sketch a collection of mystery skulls, and practice using specific features to make deductions about an animal’s life history.

Room and supply requirements
  • Projector/screen and sound for playing a short video (PTMSC brings laptop/USB drive)

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