Maritime Aquarium offers free open house for educators

Educators challenged to fulfill standards for teaching science may explore the resources available at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk during a free after-hours open house called “Fish School” on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 4-7 p.m.

The purpose of the free evening is to show teachers and other educators the many ways they can connect their students and curricula with The Maritime Aquarium’s unique educational programs, which help to fulfill state, Common Core and Next Generation Science standards.  

“Our goal is for the Aquarium to be an extension of every classroom in the region,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of education. “We consider teachers and students to be our priority audience, and our catalog of programs is designed to support and extend the school curriculum.”

“Fish School” is open to all working educators, including homeschool parents and those who present educational content at libraries, community centers and other resources apart from schools. Also welcome are undergraduates and graduate students working toward education degrees.

During “Fish School,” teachers can meet with Maritime Aquarium educators, go on behind-the-scenes tours, and sample some of the Aquarium’s programs, from microscope discoveries to squid dissections. They also can tour R/V Spirit of the Sound — the first research vessel in the country with quiet hybrid-electric propulsion — to learn about hands-on opportunities with their students out on Long Island Sound.

Of special note this year is “Sound Resilience,” a new multiple-session program available for free to Grades 6-12 in 11 coastal Fairfield County school districts. Funded through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Sound Resilience” provides the opportunity for middle- and high-school students to delve into such local environmental threats as hurricanes, nor’easters, floods and coastal erosion. The standards-fulfilling program consists of three sessions: two in the school classroom and one out on Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s research vessel, when students will collect environmental data and survey the coastline from the water. There’s also a professional-development component for educators.

“Sound Resilience” is free to schools in Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford.

Even IMAX movies can be incorporated into classroom lessons through educational guides created by the films’ producers. On Feb. 28, teachers can preview two films in Connecticut’s largest IMAX Theater. Showing on the six-story screen will be Dream Big: Engineering Our World at 5 p.m. The first giant-screen film made with a STEM focus, Dream Big celebrates engineering marvels around the world and also some of the inspired young engineers tackling new challenges.

At 6 p.m., Amazon Adventure will be screened. This biopic tells the true story of Henry Bates, who risked his life in the Amazon in the 1850s and discovered the “beautiful proof” that supported Darwin’s groundbreaking theories of evolution and natural selection.

In addition, information will be available about two new IMAX movies Backyard Wilderness, opening on March 24; and Pandas, opening April 6.

Admission, a light dinner and parking are all free for “Fish School.” However, advance registration is required. (As this is a professional event, it is for educators only. No children or spouses, please.)

To register, email, call 203-852-0700, ext. 2206, or register online at