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Shedd Aquarium Offers Learning Opportunities to Spark Students' Scientific Curiosity

Just in time for back to school, Shedd's learning programs are back to inspire the next generation of animal advocates

August 04, 2021

Kids in a squid dissection course put thin slices of skin onto microscope slides to look at up close.

As teachers and students plan to return to school after more than a year of hybrid and remote learning, Shedd Aquarium, a leader in education and immersive learning, offers various ways for classrooms to connect with the aquatic animal world. Adapted for seamless classroom integration, Shedd’s curriculum-aligned programs will make a splash with learners and build knowledge about science and the environment while bringing students eye-to-eye with animals. Teachers can expand their curriculum with learning programs – both asynchronously and synchronously – to further STEM learning opportunities. Whether it’s a virtual field trip to explore with animals and learn from experts at the aquarium, hands-on STEM activities like dissections in Learning Labs or interactive lessons during onsite field trips with a Science Tech Trek, Shedd Aquarium supports learners and educators.

Live from Behind the Scenes

Meet the sharks, penguins, animals of the Amazon or turtles in virtual programs that provide behind-the-scenes exploration at Shedd! In each program, students will get an in-depth look at a species or group of species and take away new knowledge about the extensive research and activities that Shedd performs to support the animals living here and in habitats across the globe. Students will also make observation rounds in the aquarium and engage in a Q&A with animal care staff members.

  • $125 for one classroom; $95 for an additional group in the same program
  • Tuesdays -Fridays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. starting Sept 14, 2021
  • Grades: K-8

Science Tech Treks

Science Tech Treks are designed specifically for classrooms looking for an interactive experience during a school field trip at Shedd. Students take on the role of a scientist, using tablets to interact with and collect data on animals and their habitats. These experiences maximize the educational value of the field trip and are timed so the group can still eat lunch and explore other exhibits during their visit. Programs teaching strategies and content change at each grade level, with topics including the needs of animals and plants, animal defense tactics, coral reef relationships, biomimicry in engineering, sound waves and dolphins and great lakes invaders.

  • $95 per program
  • Wednesdays-Fridays starting Sept. 14, 2021
  • Grades: K-5

Learning Labs

Learning Labs are deeply immersive hands-on experiences for the entire classroom that can take place at Shedd Aquarium or a school. Programs are offered in grade ranges: 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12, with teaching strategies and content changing at each level. The Exploring Anatomy: Squid Dissection programs, designed for grades 3-8, centers on a student-driven, collaborative dissection in which students learn the functions of squid structures through individual inquiry. Exploring Pathology: Fish Dissection allows students, grades 9-12, to step into the role of a fisheries biologist and examine a fish critical to habitats in the Great Lakes region during a hands-on dissection.

  • $125 per program
  • Tuesdays -Thursdays starting Sept. 14, 2021
  • Grades: 3-12

Curricula & Lesson Plans
Adapt aquatic lessons into your curricula with free lessons plans from Shedd. Educators can access a variety of lessons, guides and curriculum to tailor to their classroom needs. These include Dolphin Calf Virtual Backpack lessons that teach about dolphin play, groups and movement, NextGen Animals Responders Curriculum focused on animal rescue and recovery efforts, and exhibit guides tailored to different geographic regions. Shedd also offers Sea Curious and Stay at Home with Shedd Aquarium video series, which answer common questions about animals, including what they eat and how they stay healthy, as well as introduce specific animal species.

  • Free
  • Grades: K-12, varies by lesson

Professional Development for Teachers

Learn from Shedd educators from the comfort of your home, or in-person at your school or at Shedd. Receive highly interactive and collaborative training, rooted in NGSS, on topics such as aquatic science and informal teaching practices. Illinois educators can receive ISBE clock hours, and all teachers will receive actionable materials and information they can immediately utilize in the classrooms. Participants will look nature in the eye and connect with the aquarium through an animal ambassador and participate in interactive sessions where they can network and meet Shedd’s high-energy presenters.

New topics for the 2021-2022 School Year are coming soon! Subscribe to the Educator eNews for updates.

  • 1.5-hour workshops/$25, 2.5-hour workshops/$35
  • Select weekdays and weekends starting Sept. 14, 2021
  • K-12 Educators

VISUALS: Photographs are available for download: https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8e6c628d585e76aa71a1.
Credit: © Shedd Aquarium