Public Aquarium as Fun Summer Learning!
The New England Aquarium is one great example chock-full of ideas to help you accomplish this! Check out their website: http://www.neaq.org/education_and_activities/teacher_resources/classroom_resources/index.php
Go on an aquarium scavenger hunt! For example, the animal behavior scavenger hunt! Fun and educational, too! Educational because they will focus on the key concepts of: most tanks in the aquarium represent specific habitats, each habitat is home to a unique array of plants and animals, making careful observations is one way scientists learn more about animals, by spending more time and focusing more closely on what is going on in individual tanks and with individual animals students will observe and learn things they would miss by spending a shorter time at each tank.
It is an organized learning event, as the aquarium staff have prepared a plan for the scavenger hunt which the child will have in the form of a hard copy in their hands to look at. The student will come prepared and excited and ready to have fun and learn at the same time with their own clipboard and pencil! No need to even spend money on a clipboard because you can create your own with cardboard and a binder clip! Just tie your pencil to your homemade binder with string! It’s fun before you even arrive at the aquarium.
The scavenger hunts require careful observation, drawing, and writing. By slowing them down at the exhibits in this way (They pick the ones they are more interested in! This helps instill a sense of confidence in their own decision-making ability which will serve them well later in life.), learning happens with a sense of excitement - and this joy has been proven to facilitate learning. This is what we like! ( :
After a wonderful field trip to the Aquarium, the scavenger hunt materials created by the student’s own observations are used by the student as the basis for a discussion that will help them learn by applying the concepts they have studied. This combination of reading, writing, listening, and speaking works together to enhance their learning experience. This will allow them to bring away with them something fun to remember that really stimulated their minds and created more synaptic bridges in their brains for maximum learning ability!
To keep those brain cells firing away this summer, visit your local aquarium and make the most of it with the assistance of your knowledgeable and friendly public aquarium staffers! They will welcome you and your kids with open arms! The fish will be glad to see you, too! Take your camera, or better yet, take your video camera!
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