Designed with the Tacoma School District, our elementary school program is tailored for third grade students but has been successfully used in second and fourth grade classrooms. The mix-and-match elements make it easy to integrate the curriculum into lessons.

Teacher resource handbook

The in-class activities and worksheets found in the teacher resource handbook can be used individually or along with our third grade reading book, Gateway to the World.

Gateway to the World reading book

Copies of "Gateway of the World: The Story of Pierce County's Port" are available free of charge to Pierce County elementary schools and home school groups. Request copies.

Foss Seaport's Working Waterfront Maritime Museum

Scheduling a visit to Foss Seaport's Working Waterfront Maritime Museum's Discovery Wharf. Children can don hard hats and set to work loading containers onto vessels or rail cars with the custom-built wooden port toys. The museum also offers classroom field trips. For more information, call 253-272-2750.

Mapping ocean currents with rubber ducks

In January 1992, a container vessel traveling from Hong Kong to the Port of Tacoma encountered a large storm. Twelve containers washed overboard into the Pacific Ocean, including one filled with 29,000 rubber ducks, frogs, beavers and turtles.

Caught in ocean currents, the rubber ducks circled the globe and were found on shores around the world. They appeared on the U.S. West Coast 10 months after the storm, in Japan and Hawaii between 1992 and 1995, on the U.S. East Coast between 1995 and 2000, and in the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2007. The rubber ducks’ journey inspired Eric Carle’s children's book "10 Little Rubber Duckies.”

Seattle-based oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer uses the rubber ducks and other items lost from container vessels to model ocean currents and help scientists better understand ocean currents and seasonal events. His work could help scientists predict the movement of oil spills and guide cleanup efforts, or guide rescue missions to located missing vessels and people. 

Who to contact

Lisa Yost