Educators in Milford and surrounding communities will have the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk to themselves for free on Wednesday, Jan. 15 as they explore and preview the Aquarium’s exhibits, educational programs and IMAX movies.
The teachers’ open house, called “Fish School,” will run from 4 to 8 p.m. The purpose of the free event is to show teachers how they can connect their students and curricula with the aquarium’s educational programs. Plus, the event offers IMAX movie screenings and a sneak preview of The Maritime Aquarium’s newest “get close” opportunity: “Jiggle A Jelly,” a special touch-a-jellyfish exhibit opening Jan. 18.
“The Maritime Aquarium is an incredible educational resource for the region, yet many teachers may not know what we offer beyond being a fun place for a field trip,” said Jamie Alonzo, the aquarium’s education director. “We can bring to life teachers’ lessons in environmental education, animal adaptations, ecosystems and other science curricula — and all of it helps to meet Connecticut, New York and New Jersey STEM standards.”
During “Fish School,” aquarium educators will staff display tables throughout the galleries, explaining such topics as the aquarium’s successful Whole School Partnership programs, which are aimed at helping to close the achievement gap in seven area schools. Also, some of the many educational programs that the aquarium offers, from microscope discoveries to squid dissections, will be demonstrated.
Teachers also can learn about the Maritime Aquarium’s new research vessel, due for its maiden study cruises this spring. The $2.7 million, 65-foot catamaran will have a hybrid propulsion system, making it bigger, quieter and greener than the aquarium’s current 34-year-old trawler. The new boat will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space with total capacity of 65, more than twice that of the aquarium’s current 40-foot boat.
“Fish School” will include details about financial aid for field trips, including busing. Even if teachers can’t swing a field trip to the aquarium, Alonzo added, they’ll learn at “Fish School” how the aquarium can come to them through “Traveling Teacher” programs, which send educators out to classrooms all across the tri-state area.
The “Fish School” open house also will let teachers understand how to incorporate the Aquarium’s IMAX movies into their lessons, during screenings of “Tornado Alley” at 5:30 p.m. and “Great White Shark” at 7 p.m.
Free light fare will be served during the evening. Aquarium programs, memberships and other prizes will be awarded in drawings.
“Fish School” is free to educators only — no spouses or children. Advance registration is required and IMAX seats are limited. People can make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-852-0700, ext. 2206.