Open 9 pm - 6 pm
Temporarily closed but virtual programs are still open!
Two teens dissect the stomach of a fish, looking to see what it's been eating.
A teen working on a fish dissection places a thin slice into a microscope to look at up close.

Learning Labs are inquiry-based lab programs in which students gain skills in scientific methods, collaboration, communication, teamwork and more. Learning Labs can take place at Shedd Aquarium or at a school.

What to expect

  • Students work in small groups using dissection tools to perform a guided fish necropsy
  • Students collect data on physical conditions of their fish using microscopes and other laboratory equipment
  • Teachers and chaperones may participate
  • Students analyze and discuss their data

Key concepts: Adaptations, physiology, anatomy, pathology, forensics, animal health, fish hatcheries

Skills: Scientific investigation and method, collaboration and communication, group work, inquiry, qualitative and quantitative data collection, drawing conclusions from data


Program includes: 

  • Use of tools like scissors, forceps, tablets and microscopes
  • Work in small groups in which participants could have unique tasks based on their choice, needs, or preference
  • Use of stairs; elevators are available
  • Work taking place at standard tables with chairs provided
  • Moving short distances
  • The learning environment as part of this lesson may include the following sensory triggers: unusual noises, which may be loud, low, or moderate; changes in lighting; unusual smells; touch sensitivity due to the use of tight-fitting gloves; and potential that participants may get wet or dirty.

We believe there should be no boundaries to your Shedd Aquarium experience. If you have an accommodation request related to a disability, please contact us at [email protected] or 312-939-2438. We look forward to assisting you.

Learn more about Accessibility at Shedd

Labs at Your School

New this year. Have Shedd Educators come to your school to facilitate a Learning Lab program. These programs are available three days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays!

Read More , on the Labs at Your School page


Next Generation Science Standards: 

  • HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.
  • Clarification statement: Emphasis is on functions at the organism system level such as nutrient uptake, water delivery and organism movement in response to neural stimuli. An example of an interacting system could be an artery depending on the proper function of elastic tissue and smooth muscle to regulate and deliver the proper amount of blood within the circulatory system.

Common Core Standards: WHST.9-12.7, RST.1 1-12.7.


Download Exploring Pathology: Fish Dissection Learning Lab Guide


Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays

Class Size

Up to 30 students


90 minutes


$125 per program


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