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At Your School And Beyond

Distance Learning

Arrange a video conference presentation or series of programs that are tailored to your programming needs.

Each program is 30-40 minutes in length and is designed to be interactive and, when applicable, a live animal component with a reptile or invertebrate is available. Cost is $160 per session and includes system test prior to program (we utilize the web-based Zoom platform for distance learning programming). Contact MaryEllen Mateleska at mmateleska@mysticaquarium.org  for additional information, including tailoring a topic.

Distance Learning Teacher

Special Animal Encounters And Staff Experiences

Penguins Up Close

Broadcasting directly from Mystic Aquarium’s Roger Tory Peterson Penguin Pavilion, students have the opportunity to not only learn about these amazing endangered species but also meet an African penguin and penguin trainer up close and personal!

Schedule: Monday – Friday, 11:00am or 2:00pm

Seal and Sea Lion Encounter

Traveling behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Pacific Northwest exhibit, students will learn all about pinnipeds by shadowing a member of the Animal Care staff during a seal and sea lion training session.
Schedule: Monday – Friday (October –April), 11:00am or 2:30pm

Aquarium Tour

Don’t want to focus on just one theme? The Aquarium Tour is the perfect program for you! Choose any three of the Aquarium habitats (from Whales to Penguins to Sharks to Reptile) to have broadcasted right into your classroom!
Schedule: Monday – Friday, 8:00am-6:00pm

Career Corner

Whether your class is studying ocean pollution, marine animal rescue, shark conservation or marine biology careers, we have just the expert to answer all of your questions. This program will include a brief topic overview followed but a question and answer session with the specified topic expert.
Schedule: Monday – Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Sharks!

Sharks are in trouble. Of the roughly 375 shark species, 66 are threatened or endangered, mostly due to overhunting and the effects of pollution. In this class, students will learn about the fascinating shark species, the challenges they must overcome for survival, and the conservation efforts underway to protect them.

Beluga Whales

Through interactive activities, students discover the many adaptations these charismatic marine mammals have for survival in their ocean habitat.

Weather permitting, this program is conducted at the Arctic Coast Exhibit home to the beluga whales.

Animal Training

Throughout this program, participants will learn how and why we train animals (from sea lions to alligators).  This program will include Q&A session with a member of our California Sea Lion team and even a guest appearance from a sea lion!  Please contact us for available days and times.

Auditorium Programs

Mystic Aquarium educators will travel to your school or organization to present fun, educational, and engaging 60-minute presentations for your students in an auditorium setting for up to 300 students. We offer four intriguing programs: Amazing Sharks – Test your shark knowledge in a rousing game of bingo, Penguins – How is your penguin trivia, Beluga whales –Discover the fascinating adaptations these whales have and Explore the Shore – How do plants and animals survive in this harsh environment. Each presentation will engage the students as they learn about the chosen topic. Then, utilizing a special scope to magnify the animals on a big screen, students will be introduced to invertebrates such as a horseshoe crab, lobster, whelk snail and more. This program promises to be an entertaining and educational experience for all!

Cost: $450 for one program; $660 for two programs help on the same day, in the same location.

Penguin Out Reach Ambassador Program

Our Penguin Animal Ambassador Programs are a one of a kind outreach program appropriate for audiences of all ages where your students not only meet one of our resident African penguins but also learn from their trainers how we are working every day to save these Endangered Species.   While we are eager to provide these enriching and educational Penguin Animal Ambassador Programs, please ensure that your school, organization or facility can adhere to the following criteria prior to reserving your program.

  • Penguin programs are available to schools, organizations or facilities that are within 60 miles of Mystic Aquarium
  • Penguin programs must be held in indoor presentation areas.  Gymnasiums, auditoriums, multi-purpose activity rooms, and other large, enclosed spaces are ideal.
  • An offstage area free of wires and debris must be provided as a “safe zone” for the animal ambassadors
  • Indoor temperatures must be above 50°F and below 65°F.
  • Due to strict quarantine policies, no other animals may be present in the presentation or offstage area
  • Since the safety of our audience is a primary concern, we cannot allow audience members to feed or hold any of our Animal Ambassadors.

Penguin Animal Ambassador Programs are available October through April on Monday through Wednesday for a one hour block or 2 consecutive 30 minute blocks between 10:00am-12:00pm or 1:00pm-3:00pm. This offering is $1750 for the offsite programming (maximum of 300 students) and $1500 for onsite programming (maximum of 30 students).  Please contact MaryEllen at educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org to reserve this one of a kind program today!

Trainer with Penguin

Traveling Touch Tank

Looking for a unique and engaging experience for a large gathering? Mystic Aquarium has just what you need. Our traveling touch tank is designed for large groups such as PTO gatherings, employee appreciation parties, open houses, conferences, or any time you have a group of people gathered together. Mystic Aquarium will bring an assortment of live invertebrates such as lobsters, horseshoe crabs and shellfish right to your function to entertain and educate people of all ages. Perfect for a larger group that might not have time for a full presentation.

Program rate is $275 for up to two hours and $125 for each additional hour.

Hermit Crab

Career Fairs

Is your school or group hosting a career fair? Countless students are interested in animal training and ocean conservation. Have an aquarium staff member come and talk to your students about the many varied careers in the field of marine biology.

Regular traveling classroom program fees apply.

Coming to the Aquarium for a visit? Career programs are also offered on-site in an Aquarium classroom.

Staff

Afterschool Programs

Did you know that all our school program offerings can be tailored to meet your afterschool program needs? Don’t see the perfect fit for your program, we can work with you and tailor a program to meet a single day, weekly, or monthly visits. Contact the Education Department today at educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org.

Custom Programs

We can work with you and tailor a program to meet your group’s specific needs. Those looking for a more in-depth experience beyond just one class can contact Mystic Aquarium’s Education Department to create an engaging, multi-part program. Activities can take place at the Aquarium, at your location or on the coast! Contact the Education Department today at educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org.

 

Classroom Programs

PRE-K & KINDERGARTEN

Mystic Aquarium educators encourage young students to observe the natural world, ask questions, and look for patterns to describe needs that animals have to live and grow. They discover sources for those needs along with comparisons to our own. We also reinforce the important concept of cause and effect and how to respect each other and the environment we all share.

All Pre-K & K programs can travel, and they include a literacy focus through vocabulary building and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with live marine invertebrates!

(Best Suited For Toddlers and 2 Year Olds)

Discover fascinating animals found along the rocky shore. Some have hard shells for protection and others have suction cups to hang on! Through dramatic play and discovery of “mystery” items, Mystic Aquarium instructors will guide your toddlers through learning about cool coastal animals.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Follow Me!” by Bethany Roberts
Standards Addressed – CT ELDS Strands A, C, D & E

(Best For Pre-K)

Ocean creatures have countless ways of moving from one place to another. Some use their fins to move, while others walk sideways. Enjoy a puppet show to find out if Rocky the rock crab or Octy the octopus can teach a confused baby beluga how to swim. This program is designed to help students discover how marine animals move.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Move” by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2; RI: LS1, LS4

(Best For Pre-K & Kindergarten)

Hermit crabs are fascinating creatures, carrying their home with them wherever they go. Sometimes moving to a bigger shell can be quite an adventure! In this exciting class, we’ll use the story, A House for Hermit Crabby Eric Carle, a costume, and props for students to discover a master of camouflage.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Old Shell, New Shell” by Helen Ward
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2, K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

(Best Suited For Pre-K & Kindergarten)

All children love to imitate penguins, so think how much fun it would be to see a classmate dressed up as one from beak to tail! Through movement and hands-on activities, students will love discovering how these adorable birds survive so well without flying.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Penguins” by Gail Gibbons
Standards Addressed – CT: PK.2, K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

(Best Suited For Kindergarten)

What kinds of surprises might children encounter in the magical aquarium suitcase? Clownfish, eels, anemones, flounder and sharks to name just a few! Learning comes alive as students discover the numerous adaptations that equip these animals for life in the ocean.

Suggested book to complement the program: Hiding in Oceans” by Deborah Underwood
Standards Addressed – CT: K.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2; Asking Questions, Obtaining Information

GRADES 1-3

Students observe and construct ideas based on patterns they discover within the biodiversity and adaptations of animals. Water in many forms is featured through a variety of aquatic habitats. Many class options compare the structures and functions of animals and their young, as well as behaviors that help them survive. Programs also introduce concepts of how humans apply knowledge and resources from the natural world to create materials and products, as well as how children can make choices that help reduce their impact on our environment. All grade 1-3 programs promote STEM education through science literacy, inquiry, problem solving, and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with either live marine invertebrates or a reptile!

How do you know if an animal is a reptile, bird, mammal or fish? As an excellent introduction to taxonomy and biodiversity, students will have fun while investigating evidence including live animals, discussing with classmates and figuring out how to start classifying animals.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Animals and Me” by DK Publishing

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates and a reptile.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns; Structure & Function; LS1, LS4; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

Students will investigate the native plants and animals that live along our beautiful rocky shores of the Long Island Sound. They will understand how difficult it is for animals to live in this harsh environment and investigate adaptations they have developed for survival.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Between the Tides” by Fran Hodgkins

This class can travel, and it includes live invertebrates and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Structure & Function; LS1, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

Students will explore a fascinating community found beneath the waves! They will enjoy participating in an interactive presentation to discover how many sea creatures work together to be terrific neighbors, while others have interesting adaptations keeping them at the top of the food chain.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Coral Reefs” by Gail Gibbons

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Obtaining & Communicating Information

Most kids love swimming in the ocean, but imagine spending ALL of your time in the ocean swimming, eating, sleeping, etc. By helping a classmate transform into a beluga whale, students will discover how these charismatic whales are mammals like us, but are specially adapted to survive in a cold ocean ecosystem.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Whales” by Gail Gibbons

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 3.2; RI: LS1, LS2; NGSS: Structure & Function; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Obtaining & Communicating Information

Native Americans have lived along the coastline of Connecticut for thousands of years. Through a hands-on experience with live Long Island Sound invertebrates, students will investigate and deduce some of the ways local native tribes used plants and animals from the sea for survival.

Suggested book to complement the program: “Wampanoag” by Barbara A. Gray-Kanatiiosh

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 1.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.4; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Stability & Change; LS1, LS4, ESS2, ESS3; Asking Questions, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence

GRADES 4-5

Students dive deeper into understanding biodiversity and the relationships between living things and their environments, especially how they relate to watersheds and the ocean. Students will construct explanations from evidence that they gather and observe about structural and behavioral adaptations, the flow of energy within and between ecosystems, and solutions to problems that aquatic environments face resulting from overuse of limited resources. All grade 4-5 programs promote STEM education through scientific literacy, inquiry, problem solving, and hands-on activities, such as a Touch & Learn with either live marine invertebrates or a reptile!

There are roughly 400 shark species throughout the world, ranging in size from a few inches to 40 feet. Many are threatened or endangered, and your students will use evidence to determine why. In this class, students will investigate fascinating shark adaptations, the challenges they must overcome for survival, and the conservation efforts underway to protect them.

This class can travel, and it includes live invertebrates and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 4.2, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Energy & Matter, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Evaluating & Communicating Information

This interactive Jeopardy-style game offers a creative way for your students to gather evidence about the many amazing adaptations that amphibians have to survive and the challenges they face. Participants will collaborate to discover the answers to questions and perform challenges to learn more about amphibians and the roles they play in our ecosystems.

This class can travel, and it includes a live reptile and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed –  CT: 4.2, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, ESS2, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

How do whales find their way and locate food in the dark ocean, like a flounder hiding under the sand? In this class, students will participate in a variety of hands-on activities to discover the truly incredible adaptation of belugas and all toothed whales that give them the unique ability to “see” using sound. By the end, they will understand well the concept of structure and function through this exciting example, echolocation!

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 5.1, 5.2; RI: LS1, LS2, PS2; NGSS: Structure & Function, LS1, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Students may know about sharks, a predator that sits at the top of the ocean food chain. But how many know about plankton, the often microscopic plants and animals that make up the base of the food chain? Both groups are critical for life in the ocean and would not exist if it weren’t for the other. In this class, students will explore the ocean’s food web’s links and discover who eats whom, how they do it, and why.

Did you know that 97 percent of all animals on earth don’t have a backbone? In this class, students become scientists to investigate and classify live marine invertebrates into groups based upon their common characteristics. Some animals may look completely different but are classified together because of their unique adaptations. This class promotes well both their observation and critical thinking skills.

This class can travel and includes live invertebrates.

Standards Addressed – CT: 4.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function, LS1, LS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

GRADES 6-8

Students use models to describe aquatic phenomena. Some programs engage students to use evidence-based ideas about ecological concepts, and other classes focus on natural selection processes and patterns that emerge either in classification or in genetic studies. Students will construct explanations for cause and effect while helping develop solutions to lessen impacts on the ocean.

What is a phylum and how do scientists classify living things into groups? Students will make observations and investigations either with live marine invertebrates, or with specimens and a squid dissection, in order to complete a scientific taxonomy exercise through patterns that emerge. Educators have the option to focus on classification of live marine invertebrates, an in-depth dissection of a squid, or combine both to create a full 90-minute immersive lab experience.

Option 1: Invertebrate Classification – (This class includes live invertebrates.)  

Option 2: Squid Dissection

Both options can travel.

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2, 8.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Through their own active scientific investigations, students will learn about the unique relationships that are found throughout regional watersheds. Each program includes an opportunity to interact with live Long Island Sound invertebrates and for students to discover how human activity can impact these delicate ecosystems through evidence presented. Educators have the option to focus the class on just one of the ecosystems listed below or focus on both aquatic environments to create a full 90-minute investigation into local aquatic systems.

Option 1: CT River Freshwater Ecosystems 

Option 2: Long Island Sound Estuarine Ecosystem 

Both options can travel, and they both include live invertebrates and have a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2, 8.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Energy & Matter, Stability & Change; LS2, ESS2, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Whether it is taking on the role of a marine animal responder to diagnose a sick seal or an Aquarium researcher working with population genetics to ensure a species survival, each program will immerse your students in real-world marine science careers. Choose a focus on cell function and anatomy with the Strandings/Veterinary Science option, or heredity and microscope use with Genetics/Survival, or combine both to create a full 90-minute marine science experience.

Option 1: Marine Animal Stranding & Veterinary Science – (This class includes a live reptile.)  

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2; RI: LS1; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, ESS3, ETS; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Option 2: Population Genetics & Species Survival 

Standards Addressed – CT: 6.2, 7.2; RI: LS1, LS3; NGSS: Patterns, Cause & Effect, Structure & Function, Stability & Change; LS1, LS2, LS3, LS4, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Both options can travel, and they both have a conservation focus.

GRADES 9-12

Students will conduct scientific investigations and construct explanations, some with a focus on molecular structures and functions, in order to understand more about the inheritance and variation of traits. Other programs encourage them to analyze and interpret data on energy flow, ecosystem dynamics, and adaptations using detailed evidence of environmental influences in natural selection. Students will also develop possible solutions to help sustain biodiversity so that ecosystem functions and productivity are maintained to support and enhance life on Earth. All grade 9-12 programs promote interest in STEM through scientific literacy, active investigations, problem solving, and discussion of evidence and results.

Students will examine evidence in order to explain how environmental changes supported the evolution of new species. Students will investigate unique marine mammal skeletons to discover the structural changes whales and dolphins have made to function in a fully aquatic lifestyle. This program offers a great way for your students to experience anatomical evidence that supports the theory of evolution and the transition from a terrestrial to aquatic lifestyle.

Standards Addressed – CT: 10.5/CT Enrichment: Evolution, Physiology; NGSS: Patterns, Structure & Function; LS3, LS4, ESS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Please note that this program cannot travel due to use of rare and large specimens.

From the barrier reefs of Australia to the polar ecosystems of the Arctic Circle, ocean habitats around the world are under extreme stress. Students will examine evidence and support claims of how climate change, pollution, habitat loss and human interaction may affect aquatic life globally and collaborate to discuss potential solutions.

The class will conclude by discussing the current projects underway to help recover these endangered ecosystems.

This class can travel, and it includes a live reptile and has a conservation focus.

Standards Addressed – CT: 9.3, 9.6, 9.8, 9.9, 10.6/CT Enrichment: Ecology; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Energy & Matter, Stability & Change; LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3, ETS1; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Students can find out about the variety of STEM career opportunities available with the ocean realm. From designing deep sea vehicles, analyzing blood and water samples or even developing interactive programs for visitors, students will understand what it takes to keep an educational research facility like ours running successfully, so that we can all contribute to conservation efforts!

This class can travel and includes a live reptile.

Standards Addressed – CT: 9.8, 9.9/CT Enrichment: Ecology; NGSS: Cause & Effect, Stability & Changes; ESS3, ETS1; Asking & Defining, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Each Researcher-for-a-Day program engages students with hands-on laboratory experiences that mimic true applications of science with concepts learned in the classroom. Each 2-hour program offers students unique inside looks at marine science using such rare materials as penguin, cetacean and/or horseshoe crab blood. The experience also helps them realize connections among micro-examinations and to expand out their role in environmental conservation.

Cost of program: $7 per student (2-hours)

Standards Addressed – CT: 10.1, 10.2/CT Enrichment: Physiology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Science & Technology; NGSS: LS1, LS3; Asking & Defining, Analyzing & Interpreting, Engaging from Evidence, Evaluating & Communicating Information

Option 1: Hematology – Using blood to investigate animal health

Option 2: Microbiology – Examining the world through the eyes of a microscope

Option 3: Molecular Biology – Exploring conservation through DNA

 

Please note that these programs cannot travel due to intensive lab prep, materials and equipment needed.

We also have other lab-based programs available such as: Nutrition, Pathology, Horseshoe Crabs & Citizen Science, Necropsy/Marine Mammal Anatomy & Physiology, and more. Please contact us at educationinfo@mysticaquarium.org  if you are interested in what else we can offer to high school students.

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