SSSC Summer Camp, 2017

Summer camps are an important part of SSSC’s mission for increasing understanding and awareness of Sitka’s ecosystems.  Throughout the year, our educational programs offer many opportunities for emerging scientists of all ages to join the scientific community. During the summer, our camps promise to be some of the most fun and adventurous experiences for being involved in science

The Science Center partners with organizations across the community— including Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, National Park Service, US. Coast Guard, U.S. Forest Service, and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska— to take advantage of professional expertise in natural sciences, technology, engineering and culture.

The Sitka Sound Science Center offers week long camps during 8 weeks of the summer months.  While topics and ages range vary from week to week, all camps are age appropriate, richly experiential, outdoor and community exploratory, and project-based. Each camp session includes 3 – 5 scientists and educators with 10 – 20 campers.  Community partners ensure engaging field trips and activities.  Camps end with a culminating presentation or activity open to the community.

Registration Fees:  

  • SSSC Members and Coast Guard Family = $100/camper and $120/family camp
  • Non SSSC Members = $125/camper and $150/family camp

For more information, please contact Janet Clarke, Education Manager at (907) 747-8878, ext 3 or


This year, our summer camps shared a common theme of “MOTION“.  Whether it is a 1st grader exploring biomimicry or an 8th grader looking at the engineering behind electric cars, all of the summer camps emphasize building strong science foundations in an engaging, active manner that celebrates exploration and tinkering.

We had one Family Camp this year designed for campers to share a scientific learning experience with their significant adults!  We know that a common summer outing like this is part of what makes the summer break so special!

Camp descriptions  from 2017 are outlined below:


What are strategies that animals on land and in the marine environment use to move?

How can humans use these observations to engineer solutions to motion challenges.

Campers will explore biomimicry in this high energy, motion emphasized camp!

Grade:  Campers entering 1st – 3rd grade in Fall 2017


Plankton and plastics have one thing in common – they travel on ocean currents!

Campers looked at all kinds of currents in the natural world and develop understandings about causes and characteristics of currents through observations, experimentation, and modeling.

Grade:  Campers entering 1st – 3rd grade in Fall 2017


Students in the elementary camp at Alaska Fine Arts Camp had the option for participating in a workshop that is a partnership between SSSC and SFAC.  Campers enjoyed artistic expression of the worlds revealed under magnification.

Grade:  Campers entering 4th – 6th grade in Fall 2017


What factors affect the path of a projectile?  How do pitchers change the drop on a ball?  Can we use scientific understandings of motion to be better ball players?  Campers exercised both their minds and their muscles in the sports motion camp!

Grade:  Campers entering 4th – 6th grade in Fall 2017


“There is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.” The design challenges of helicopters, windmills, propellers, and other blades kept these campers busy.  Field trips, observations of insects, plants, birds, and marine life as well as sessions with experts created new ways of thinking for our young engineers.

Grade:  Campers entering 4th – 6th grade in Fall 2017


“We all want to change the world.”  How do engineers become innovative designers?  In this camp, we used a design process to generate ideas, solve problems, and test prototypes related to contemporary industry products and processes.  This was coupled with unique challenges and thought-provoking experimentation. “Revolution” was facilitated by visiting engineers!



Grade:  Campers entering 7th – 12th grade in Fall 2017


Campers explored different ways to explore the coastline of Baranof Island by participating in kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, and hiking.

Invitation Only Camp for those students who participated in “BLAST” at Blatchley Middle School during the 2016-2017 school year. 


Learning about our island is fun for all ages – especially when the topic is dirt!  In this camp, scientists from the US Forest Service led explorations of geologic landforms.  Each day  featured a new field trip to learn about faulting, uplift, and erosion.  Family camps are perfect for everyone – parent(s) and children, of course, but also visiting favorite aunt/uncle and their nephews/nieces, grandparents looking for quality time opportunities with grandchildren, and so on.

Postscript for Parents:  Trying to decide what age group is the best fit for your camper?  Please read the descriptions below to select the grade level that best suits your child this year.

What happens at camp?  Each camp follows a similar daily schedule: opening activity, content rich exploration, physically active game or walk, a snack, project time, closing activity.   However, content complexity, group skills, and time spent on each task differ with age groups.

What are the skills expected at the camps?

Grades 1 – 3 camps:  Campers should be easily able to walk to the Sitka National Historic Park, around the loop trail, and back again.  They should have group skills such as listening, waiting for their turn, and kindness toward others.  Content is integrated into stories, explorations, games, and projects. Activities work time is restricted to about 30 – 45 minute blocks.

Grades 4 – 6 camps:  Campers should be able to sustain 30 or 45 minutes of a game or walk.  They are expected to be able to listen to other’s ideas, plan together, and play cooperative and competitive games.  Campers in Grades 4 -6 learn content from direct instruction, experimentation, and discovery activities.  These campers can plan to work on challenges or projects in 45 – 60 minute blocks.

Grades 7 – 9 camps:  Campers in Grades 7 – 9 should be able to sustain focus for an hour long field trip, be able to swim, and be capable of rigorous activity for an hour or more.  They must exhibit a more mature level of cooperative planning, division of jobs, affirmative relationships, and self-discipline.  These campers will experience content from direct instruction, individual research, group share, scientific method, and Q & A with experts.    Work blocks will be 60 – 90 minutes, and in some cases may extend for several hours.