Open 9 pm - 6 pm
Temporarily closed but virtual programs are still open!
A water quality testing set, organized by pH, helps teens test how acidic or base a water sample is.
Freshwater lake sturgeon have long, scaleless bodies with ridges along their spines.

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 groups using scientific tools to explore a Great Lakes ecosystem
  • Students generate their own hypotheses and pursue investigations to answer them
  • Teacher and chaperones may participate
  • Students use technology such as SMART Boards and multimedia resources
  • Students present their findings to each other

Key concepts: Invasive species, ecology, ecosystems, human impact, population dynamics, water quality, macroinvertebrates as water-quality indicators

Scientific investigation and method, collaboration and communication, data collection and analysis, presentation, inquiry, communicating scientific data and evidence


Program includes: 

  • Use of stairs; elevators are available
  • Work in small groups in which participants could have unique tasks based on their choice, needs, or preference
  • Moving and standing for up to 30 minutes
  • Work taking place at standard tables with chairs provided
  • Moving around the aquarium, which has varying light, noise and temperature levels
  • 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.
  • Facilitators will use portable voice amplification at times.

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.


HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • Clarification statement: Examples of human activities can include urbanization, building dams and dissemination of invasive species.


Download Great Lakes: Testing the Waters Learning Lab Guide

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

Great Lakes: Testing the Waters


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.