Junior Aquarists

Grade Level: K–2

Have you ever wondered how we care for 32,000 animals at the aquarium? Working in small groups, students will learn more about the job of an aquarist. Students will use a tablet app to look closer at animal behaviors and needs, using prediction, observation, comparison and contrast, and documentation skills. After the field trip, you will receive an electronic copy of your students’ work.

Missions 1 and 2 are required to familiarize you and your students with the experience you’ll have at Shedd Aquarium. Missions 3 to 6 are suggested because we think they’re great ways to prepare students to get the most out of their field trip. We have also included post-trip activities for use in your classroom

Continue to Mission 1 -->

This project was made possible in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Institute of Museum and Library Services

NGSS Standards

This field trip experience supports the following standards:


Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.

ESS3. A: Natural Resources

Living things need water, air and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. 

Teacher Information

Where: For this experience, please meet us in the Aquatic Education Center (AEC) hallway. After a short orientation and activity, students will visit the Amazon Rising exhibit. As a part of this experience, we also recommend visiting the Sturgeon Touch experience, located in the Great Lakes exhibit.

What: Your students will explore an important career at the aquarium: that of an aquarist! They will make predictions and observations about what animals need: what they eat, what their homes look like and how they survive in their habitat.

Tips for Success

Tips for Success

Please be sure to have students divided into groups. We find that the activity works best in groups of three to five, but we understand that your group sizes may vary.

Students will use thermometers and discuss temperature during this experience. You can prepare your students for this activity by reminding them that:

- a higher temperature is warmer than a lower temperature

- there are different types of thermometers (digital and analog)

- thermometers can be used to measure the temperature of air and water