Posted on: 13 December 2022
Field trips are a great way to enhance classroom learning by providing kids with the opportunity for up-close experiences. Aquarium field trips are particularly valuable when studying biology and ecology due to the wide range of habitats found under the sea. When learning about how animals adapt to their environments, this variety is a valuable teaching tool that helps kids compare and contrast different animals.
Whether you're an educator or a parent, taking your kids to an aquarium provides them with a learning opportunity as well as a fun experience. Below, you'll learn three tips that will help you make your aquarium field trip inspiring and informative.
1. Prepare With a Pre-Visit Lesson
With any field trip, it's a good idea to tell kids what they can expect from the visit and ask them what they're most excited about seeing. You can call the aquarium or visit their website to get a list of their exhibits, which allows you to create a pre-visit lesson.
Before your visit, briefly discuss what types of aquatic life they'll see during the trip along with some basic information about them, ask your kids which ones they're most interested in learning about, and have them create a few questions to find the answers to during the trip.
Ideally, these questions should be open-ended and focus on how marine life adapts to its environment. Sea urchins, for example, protect themselves from predators using sharp spines. They aren't able to escape from predators by fleeing, so they need to make themselves a tough target. A squid, on the other hand, is quite agile. They're able to evade predators by spraying them with ink and swimming away. Comparing and contrasting different forms of undersea fauna will encourage your kids to think critically about how they've adapted to the habitat they live in.
2. Go on a Guided Tour on the Trip
One of the best ways to make an aquarium field trip a valuable learning experience is to go on a guided tour. During a tour, knowledgeable staff members will go from exhibit to exhibit, giving an age-appropriate explanation about the life cycles of the featured animals. The staff will also be available to answer any questions that your kids brought with them on the trip.
A guided tour will provide more information about each exhibit than the placards posted on each exhibit alone, making the field trip a much more informative experience. Depending on the aquarium, a guided tour may also include a visit to behind-the-scenes areas that are used for rehabilitating sick or injured animals or rescuing local wildlife, giving your kids the chance to see and learn more on your field trip.
3. Encourage Further Research After the Visit
Going on a field trip is an excellent occasion for self-directed learning. After the trip, have your kids discuss what they saw and see if they have any more questions about the marine life featured in the aquarium exhibits. You can teach your kids how to use online videos or encyclopedia articles to answer any new questions they have after the trip, improving their ability to research information on their own.
Overall, an aquarium field trip is an exciting experience that provides a starting point for learning. A field trip helps create the motivation that's needed for self-directed learning. If you're an educator or parent who wants to build engagement for scientific learning in your kids, then going on a field trip to an aquarium is a great choice.
Contact a local aquarium to learn more.Share