Public ticket reservations open today at noon!
Young students use a water sample from Lake Michigan to test for water quality.
Two boys compare the colored bands on a water quality stick treated with Great Lakes water against the key.

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 the Great Lakes.
  • Teachers and chaperones may participate.
  • Students use SMART technology and multimedia resources.
  • Students present their findings to each other.

Key concepts: Ecosystems, ecological impact, life history, invasive species, human impact

Skills: Scientific method and investigation, collaboration and communication, data collection and analysis, experimentation, prediction


Program includes: 

  • Use of stairs; elevators and ramps 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.

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:

  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • Clarification statement: Emphasis is on recognizing patterns in data and making warranted inferences about changes in populations, and on evaluating empirical evidence supporting arguments about changes to ecosystems.

Common Core Standards: RST.6-8.3, RST.6-8.9, SL.8.1, RST.11-12.7.


Download the Lakeshore Ecology 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.