Many have seen its massive size sitting on the banks of Lake Superior. However, only a select part of the population knows about the vast educational opportunities that are provided within the walls of the Great Lakes Aquarium.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is one of very few aquariums in the U.S. that focuses on freshwater exhibits. A majority of the fish come straight out of the Great Lakes. That fact only is the reason that thousands of tourist flock there yearly.
The aquarium is much more than just an opportunity for families to spend a day out; it’s a center for the advancement in education. The aquarium offers many educational classes for people of all ages.
Most of the classes are focused on the younger elementary school aged children who come to the aquarium on field trips. Field trip classes include up to a two hour hands on learning experience taught by experts in the area of study.
“Our exhibits, animal residents, and programs will draw out the draw out the natural scientist.” said Sarah Erickson, education director, “building observation, inquiry and reporting skills.”
Classes are taught both in the aquarium’s classrooms and outside in nature. The indoor classes tend to be about an hour long and are ideal for younger students, as they do not requiring a lot of moving while covering a variety of topics.
After each indoor class, there is time for students to walk around to the different exhibits and do some hands-on exploring.
“Students are at the center of hands on learning about animals, ecosystems and global resources,” Erickson said.
Classes taught in the field are a great way for students to get hands-on experience with nature and see first hand what it is like out in the wild. These classes typically are a two-hour session taught by a knowledgeable staff member in a sepcific topic that is being explored, such as ecosystems, pollution or rocks.
As well as classes being for students there are also opportunities for teachers to come and learn more about the environment that we live in through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The program is called MinnAqua, and it is a way for teachers to become more knowledgeable in many wildlife areas.
Finally, the aquarium offers outreach programs that bring education opportunities to the schools. Teachers can sign up to have Aquarium staff come to their class rooms to teach students. The subjects are almost all the same as the classes they teach at the facility.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is a perfect way to expand knowledge in so many different ways. It is a hands-on experience that will impact visitors in so many ways. It’s the perfect place to spend the day with friends, family, and classmates, Erickson explained.
Watch the video below to get a closer look at The Great Lakes Aquarium by taking a virtual tour with CSS journalism student Garrett Johnson!
Want to read more about Northland museums? Click here!