On-site classroom programs

Grades 6-8

Puget Sound plankton investigation

Students will take a closer look at marine plankton in a hands-on learning laboratory experience. Students will conduct their own plankton tow, use microscopes to identify phytoplankton and zooplankton and learn how these producers and consumers interact with non-living factors to create an ecosystem at the ocean’s surface. Using what they have learned, students will discuss how micro-plastics introduced by humans can damage the ecosystem.

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Marine invertebrate investigation

Meet some of Puget Sound’s marine invertebrates and learn about the wide range of conditions found in their intertidal ecosystem. Through hands-on exploration, students will investigate and discuss the physical and behavioral adaptations that enable different animals to live in the different intertidal zones. A discussion about the characteristics of both the zones and the animals will reveal the importance of leaving animals where we find them on the beach.

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Sea otter conservation research investigation—new in February 2016!

Did you know that our conservation scientists conduct research on wild sea otter populations? Join Aquarium instructors in the classroom to find out what it takes to collect data, ask research questions and plan and carry out the investigative field work conducted by our own Curator of Conservation Research, Shawn Larson, on the outer coast of Washington state.

NGSS Practice: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Crosscutting Concept: Cause and Effect, Disciplinary Core Idea: MS-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

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Oysters and ocean chemistry investigation—new in February 2016!

Ocean chemistry is rapidly changing as excess carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is absorbed into the water. Students will learn how this affects larval oysters and oyster farmers in Puget Sound, and how Simone Alin, oceanographer at NOAA, helps the farmers monitor ocean chemistry to maintain healthy hatchery conditions. Students will conduct water chemistry tests and analyze graphs of real data from ocean moorings to identify patterns in ocean chemistry and propose solutions to the oyster farmers’ challenges.

NGSS Practice: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Crosscutting Concept: Patterns, Disciplinary Core Idea:MS-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

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Self-guided tour

Discover the Seattle Aquarium with your students! Guide them through face-to-face interactions with marine animals as they explore the exhibits, from the cool waters of Puget Sound to the tropical coral reefs of the Pacific. Make sure to stop by our hands-on tide pools and interact with a diver at one of our interpretive shows.


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On-site program details

October 2015—June 2016



On-site classroom programs are free with Aquarium admission. The following admission rates apply to pre-registered groups of 10 or more.

Adults/youth age 4 and over: $9.50.

Children age 3 and under: No fees.

Passes, discounted tickets, coupons and Seattle Aquarium membership cards are not valid for school group admission fees.


Program start times and duration

Program start times: 9:45am (pre-K only), 10:45am, 12:15pm and 1:45pm. We can accommodate two groups per time slot. Groups must arrive at the Aquarium a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the start of the program. Five minutes before the program begins, an Aquarium instructor will meet your group to take you upstairs to our classrooms.

Program length: 30 minutes for pre-K programs; 60 minutes for all other programs.

Fees: Classroom programs are free with admission.


Group size

The minimum group size is 10 students. Maximum of 25 students in pre-K programs; maximum of 32 students in all other programs. Due to space and safety concerns, a maximum of 10 chaperones will be permitted into the classroom.


Conservation education fund scholarships

Scholarship assistance for admission, transportation and off-site programs is available to qualifying schools. Scholarships are awarded as funding is available. Priority will be given to 40 percent or greater free and reduced lunch or equivalent schools, Head Start, ECEAP, special needs and ESL/ELL classes. Limited funding available. Please apply online when registering for programs.