Book a Program at the Aquarium

Discovery Labs

Congratulations everyone on an amazing 2017-18 school year! Discovery Labs start back up again onsite September 24, 2018!

Our Registration period will begin August 27, 2018.

Our instructor-led, hands-on Discovery Lab programs are held in classrooms at Birch Aquarium and are available weekdays. Aquarium admission included in program fee.

A ♦ next to the grade level indicates programs that have been specifically aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards.

 

Classes by Grade

Ages 3-5   Grades K-2   Grades 3-5   Grades 6-8   Grades 9-12

All Birch Aquarium classes are Next Generation Science Standard aligned, those marked with an asterisk indicate that the class has been updated with the new standards in mind. 

Pricing 

Ages 3–5 (Pre-K): $10/student*
Grades K–12: $11/student

*Please note that Pre-K programs (Ages 3-5) must purchase a minimum of two 30-minute sessions.

Free admission is provided to chaperones that fall within our recommended ratios for each grade level. Additional chaperones over the allotted amount are $16 per person.

How to Register

Reservations can be made online, by phone at 858-534-7336, or by email.
Reservations are required four weeks in advance and are on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend that you register as soon as possible to ensure a visit on the date of your choice.

Chaperone Policy and Ratios

All teachers, staff, counselors, and parents with your group are categorized as chaperones. Chaperones are required for the purpose of supervising students. Chaperones within the recommended ratios will be given free admission. Extra Chaperones are $16 each, and this admission can be purchased in the Visitor Services Office. 

Ages 3-5 (Pre-K): One chaperone per two students (1:2)
Grades K-12: One chaperone per five students (1:5)
Note: All aides and nurses are given free admission during field trips.

School Programs Brochure

Our School Programs Brochure provides information about classes at the aquarium, classes at the beach, aquarium express outreaches, and features a poster for your classroom. 

Download 2018-19 School Programs Brochure


Ages 3-5 

Student min/max: 10 students minimum, 16 students maximum
Program Duration: Two 30-minute lessons
Chaperone Ratio: One chaperone per two paid students (1:2)
Start Times: 9:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12 p.m., 12:45 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.

Introduce pre-Kindergarten students to ocean habitats and organisms. Through guided explorations, students observe how animals feel, move, and behave while building investigation skills. 

Meet and Greet the Sea (Ages 3-5)

Swim, crawl, walk: there's a lot of ways to get around in the sea. Learn how different animals move through play and live animal interactions.
Science Concepts: Properties and Characteristics of Living Things, Observation and Investigation

Sea Stories (Ages 3-5)

What makes a good home? A children's story comes alive with puppets, interactive play, and a visit from living ocean animals.
Science Concepts: Properties and Characteristics of Living Things, Observation and Investigation

Our Registration period will begin August 27, 2018.

Book Now


Grades K-2

Student min/max: 20 students minimum, 25 students maximum
Program Duration: 60-minute lesson
Chaperone Ratio: One chaperone per five paid students (1:5)
Start Times: 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 1 p.m.

Explore the wondrous ocean habitats of the Kelp Forest, Sandy Shores and Tide Pools. Students in the early elementary grades put their observation skills to use to understand patterns of how different animals survive in these unique habitats. 

Colossal Kelp (Grades K,1

Dive into the wonderful world of kelp as students learn about the kelp bed habitat and meet the amazing critters that call this underwater forest habitat home. 
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: LS1.C: Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms, ESS3.A: Natural Resources
CCC: Structure and Function, Patterns
SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence 

Fascinating Fish (Grade 1

What makes a fish a fish? Through dress-up and exploration of real fish, students will investigate the unique characteristics of fishes. 
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: LS1.A: Structure and Function
CCC: Patterns, Systems
SEP: Constructing Explanations

Sandy Shores (Grade 2)

How does water affect the sandy shore habitat? Students explore what sand is made of, how it is created, and the animals that live in the sand.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans, ESS2.A: Earth Materials
CCC: Patterns, Cause and Effect, Structure and Function, Stability and Change 
SEP: Argument from Evidence, Constructing Explanations

Tide Pool Treasures (Grades K, 1)

Students explore the world of tide pools and learn how tide pool creatures find food, protect themselves, and move in this dynamic habitat.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms, ESS3.A: Natural Resources 
CCC: Patterns, Structure and Function
SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Engaging in Argument from Evidence 

Our Registration period will begin August 27, 2018.

Book Now


Grades 3-5

Student min/max: 20 students minimum, 36 students maximum
Program Duration: 60-minute lesson
Chaperone Ratio: One chaperone per five paid students (1:5)
Start Times: 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 1 p.m.

Let your students get their hands on an understanding of structure and function with our Dissection Discovery Labs, or learn how we are connected to and impact the creatures of the ocean.

Can you Dig it? (Grades 3,4)

Students become marine paleontologists as they explore what makes a fossil, where fossils are found, and examine fossils and their living relatives in order to solve a fossil mystery.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: (Gr. 3) LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity, (Gr. 4) ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth
CCC: Patterns, Cause and Effect; Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, Stability and Change
SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Constructing Explanations, Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Creatures of the Kelp (Grades 3,5)

Discover an underwater forest and its importance to marine organisms. How can changes in the environment affect this ecosystem?
NGSS Alignment:
DCI: (Gr. 3) LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience, (Gr. 4) LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience, (Gr. 5) LS1.C: Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
CCC: Systems and System Models
SEP: Developing Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Fish Dissection (Grades 4, 5)

Examine fish inside and out through dissection of mackerel. In grade 4, students will discover the structures that help a fish to swim, eat, and protect itself in the open ocean habitat. Fifth graders will explore the role of mackerel in the food chain based on their body structures and functions.
NGSS Alignment:
DCI: (Gr. 4) LS1.A: Structure and Function, (Gr. 5) LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, LS2.B Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
CCC: Systems, Structure and Function 
SEP: Constructing Explanations, Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Fish Diversity (Grades 3, 4)

Through hands-on exploration of biofacts and specimens, students will develop an understanding of the roles that adaptations in body shape, coloration, and teeth play in enabling fish to survive in diverse habitats. 
NGSS Alignment:
DCI: (Gr. 3) LS4.C: Adaptation, (Gr. 4) LS1.A: Structure and Function 
CCC: Patterns, Cause and Effect 
SEP: Constructing Explanations, Argument from Evidence 

Sensational Sharks (Grades 3-5)

Explore the 6 senses that make sharks one of the most unique fish in our oceans. Compare sharks and bony fish and discover the adaptations that have helped these amazing animals thrive in the oceans for millions of years.
NGSS Alignment:
DCI: (Gr. 3) LS4.C: Adaptation, (Gr. 4) LS1.A. Structure and Function, LS1.D: Information Processing, (Gr. 5) ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
CCC: Cause and Effect
SEP: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Squid Dissection (Grades 4, 5♦)

Examine squid inside and out through dissection. In grade 4, students will discover the structures that help a squid to swim, eat, and protect itself in the open ocean habitat. Fifth graders will explore the role of squid in the food chain based on their body structures and functions.

NGSS Alignment:
DCI: (Gr. 4) LS1.A: Structure and Function, (Gr. 5) LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, LS2.B: Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems 
CCC: Systems, Structure and Function 
SEP: Constructing Explanations, Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Our Registration period will begin August 27, 2018.

Book Now


Grades 6-8 and 9-12

Student min/max: 20 students minimum, 36 students maximum
Program Duration: 75-minute lesson
Chaperone Ratio: One chaperone per five paid students (1:5)
Start Times: 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 1 p.m.

We’ve lengthened our middle- and high-school Discovery Labs to deepen the learning, so now students can explore ocean science and engineering concepts for 75 minutes. 

Energy Engineering Challenge (Grades 6,8, 9-12)

Examine the use of natural resources for energy and the impacts of human activities. Students investigate alternative energy sources and engineer solutions for the energy needs of a growing world.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: (Gr. 6, 8, 9-12) ETS1.A: Defining an Engineering Problem, ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions, ETS1.C: Optimizing the Design Solution, ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
CCC: Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World, Cause and Effect, Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, Energy and Matter, Structure and Function
SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Developing and Using Models, Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Fish Dissection (Grades 6, 7, 9-12)

As scientists, students use the mackerel as their model subject to explore defining fish characteristics and the crucial adaptive anatomy and physiology that allow fish to survive in a marine environment.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: (Gr. 6, 9-12) LS1.A: Structure and Function, (Gr. 7) LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
CCC: Structure and Function, Systems, Cause and Effect 
SEP: Constructing Explanations, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Ecosystem Exploration: Mussel Beach (Grades 7, 9-12)

California Mussels: animal, habitat, or both? Students will explore and identify animals that live amongst the mussels and examine how changes in the environment affect biomass and biodiversity.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: (Gr. 7) LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, (Gr. 9-12) LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics
CCC: Cause and Effect, Stability and Change 
SEP: Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Argument from Evidence

Sharks in the Spotlight (Grades 6-8)

For over 50 years, scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography have observed the phenomenon of large numbers of leopard sharks gathering off of La Jolla. Students become the scientists as they replicate research to determine why the sharks are our yearly visitors.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms
CCC: Structure and Function, Systems and System Models 
SEP: Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Squid Dissection (Grades 6, 7, 9-12

Students dissect a common market squid in order to explore both external and internal anatomy, while discovering the structural and behavioral adaptations that enable squid to live in the open ocean environment.
NGSS Alignment: 
DCI: (Gr. 6, 9-12) LS1.A: Structure and Function, (Gr. 7) LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
CCC: Systems, Cause and Effect 
SEP: Constructing Explanations, Engaging in Argument from Evidence, Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information 

Our Registration period will begin August 27, 2018.

Book Now


Thank you to our Education Donors! With their continued support, Birch Aquarium is able to promote ocean literacy in the classroom and in the field.