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Stay Home Video and Activity Series

As you embark on your journey as a scientist, keep your activity notes organized by making a Science Journal. 

Download 'Make a Science Journal'

Penguins

What is life like as a penguin? While these flightless birds don’t take to the skies, underwater it’s a different story. Penguins are swift swimmers, literally flying underwater as fast as 15 mph. Instead of wings, they have powerful flippers that enable them to dive for their prey, avoid predators, and play! Penguins have many other adaptations that help them survive—inducing their iconic black and white coloration! Join us as we uncover all the (surprising!) ways penguins coloring helps them thrive.

After you have watched the Penguins Stay at Home video, take a deeper dive by exploring additional adaptations of both penguins and the birds in your backyard. You’ll investigate more unique penguin and bird features and create a science journal to record your work. 


Turtles

It’s turtle time! Whether it’s a graceful sea turtle with its streamlined body or a yellow-footed tortoise with its fortress-like shell, don't be fooled by turtles’ reputation as slow pokes. Turtles can be surprisingly speedy—fast swimmers, fast hiders and fast learners! Join us as we unpack this myth of speed. Ready, set, go!

After you have watched the turtle episode of Stay Home with Shedd Aquarium, take a deeper dive by exploring different turtle species and the habitats they call home. You’ll investigate turtle’s needs, play a population game and become a Habitat Hero! 


Sharks

Get ready to think differently about sharks! Sharks are key to maintaining healthy and thriving ocean ecosystems and most are not at all what you’d expect. Sharks come in all shapes and sizes and are found in every ocean, in habitats ranging from shallow tropical reefs to the deep, cold seafloor. They have diverse diets, too: Some munch on mollusks, some hunt other sharks and the largest shark eats the tiniest food—plankton! Join us as we unpack some common myths about sharks—and rethink what we know about these beautiful (and important!) ocean animals.

After you have watched the shark episode of Stay Home with Shedd Aquarium, take a deeper dive by exploring different sharks’ diets and eating habits. You will also investigate some ways scientists study sharks in the ocean and become a shark researcher yourself! 


Fish

Are you ready to explore the beauty, wonder and diversity of fish? Shedd Aquarium is home to thousands of fish species, each with shapes, colors and patterns uniquely adapted to their habitats and lifestyle. Not only is there great variety in fishes' appearances, but they also have some useful tricks up their sleeves with their many unique skills, talents and relationships! Join us as we explore fish variation and community roles!

After you have watched the fish episode of Stay Home with Shedd Aquarium, fish beauty and diversity will inspire your creativity as you design a transforming fish and piece together a frankfinfish! You will also explore ways that different fishes rely on each other and contribute to their aquatic communities. 


The Great Lakes

Dive into the mysteries of the Great Lakes with Shedd! With over 20% of the world’s fresh water contained in the Great Lakes, it’s important to know about the food webs and issues facing these North American natural wonders. Developed with support from Chicago teachers, this culturally relevant episode is ready to implement in the classroom with question breaks and discussion topics to further learning. There is much to be hopeful about in the Great Lakes, but what can you do to help protect them? Learn more and explore solutions with Shedd!

For Spanish subtitles, please click into YouTube to turn on subtitles.

After you have watched the Great Lakes video, dive deeper into freshwater food webs with two accompanying standards-aligned, cross-curricular lessons. In one lesson, students use the video content as well as other research to write a play explaining the roles in food webs and its importance to an ecosystem. In the other lesson, looking further into conservation, students collect authentic data on freshwater mussels, convert measurements, manipulate fractions if they are ready and compare the data to previous years.

Explore Further

Classroom Lessons

For teachers with bilingual or Spanish-speaking classrooms, the materials provided for students are in both Spanish and English. The lesson plans are only in English

Science/ELA Lesson: Everyone ‘Plays’ a Role in Our Food Web

Science/Math Lesson: Measuring Mussels with Dr. Ken


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Explore More

We invite you to reflect on the biodiversity of Earth’s ecosystems, starting with coral reefs, by using the following activities for families and students of all ages and abilities.

A school of yellow fish, about the size of an adult's hand, swim among fan-like clumps of coral.

Cling on to Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth, supporting a multitude of life in our oceans. In this activity, explore coral reefs from the comfort of your own home! Watch a video about coral reef habitats and see how many different animals you can find. Then use the animals you observe as inspiration to create your own coral reef scene on a window at home with materials you already have.

Download the PDF here!

Milkweed is a native plant, and attracts monarch butterflies, whose caterpillars need the plant for food.

Zoom in on Backyard Diversity

After you’ve investigated coral reef biodiversity in the sea, apply the same skills to explore your local green space. Make a pair of cardboard binoculars to help you hone your observation skills. Find a nearby lawn, tree, or other green area; take the time to look closely and see what you discover! Record what types of wildlife, colors, textures, or patterns you see. You don’t have to travel far to appreciate the nature in your own back yard!

Download the PDF here!

A turtle is held in the hands of a Shedd staff member

Pledge to Conserve with Shedd Aquarium

Finally, whether it’s in a far-away coral reef or a garden in our back yard, humans and wildlife are all connected. We all share Earth as our home. Our actions matter. Come up with a pledge that will have a positive effect on the environment and wildlife. Together, our actions can have a big impact!

Download the PDF here!


More digital resources from Shedd