The mission of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is to inspire conservation of the marine environment through education, research, and sustainable practices. Most of you know that we provide many educational exhibits and learning opportunities onsite. But, did you know that our educational impact flows far beyond the walls of the Aquarium? In fact, part of why our mission succeeds is because of our partnership with educators from all corners of the learning field.
As many of us head “back-to-school” either as students or educators, we wanted to highlight just some of the amazing ways that the Aquarium partners with schools, teachers, and parents to inspire marine conservation through education.
- Virtual programs In response to the unprecedented challenges placed upon educators of all kinds during the pandemic, the Aquarium launched several successful virtual learning opportunities. Our education team has a range of virtual programs for all ages. Whether you are a parent of a toddler or homeschool student or a traditional classroom teacher, we have virtual programs for everyone. Be sure to check our website to learn more about our real-time virtual programs.
- Outreach programs Our education team works tirelessly to offer outreach programs to teachers, schools, and other organizations. Bringing a bit of the Aquarium with them, our trained and knowledgeable educators do all the work and bring the lessons and activities to you. This year be sure to check out all that we are offering both this summer and during the upcoming school year!
- Suitcase Science A unique resource that we provide are our Suitcase Science kits. These are boxes that can be checked out and used in your classroom. Again, our team has done the work for you as these kits come complete with lesson plans and most of the supplies you will need to give your students fun and engaging learning activities. Be sure to check our website for more on this wonderful program.
- At-home learning We have always partnered with amazing homeschool families in our community and we continue to foster this relationship but hope to see many more families take advantage of the incredible supply of at-home learning resources provided conveniently on our website. Activities are arranged by age and subject areas, and we also have a page filled with fun and educational games for families to enjoy. Be sure to check our Community Resource page to see all we have for you to enjoy.
- Onsite exhibits Because we care about the safety of our guests, staff, and animals, we are unable at this time to offer onsite opportunities like field trips or hands-on learning stations. However, guests are still able to visit and learn plenty from the onsite educational material near exhibits and by simply sitting and observing our amazing animals. Currently, we have extended our hours so that everyone can find a time to visit that works for them. Be sure to visit our website to reserve your visit date and time HERE!
While the start of this new school year certainly is looking a bit different for most of us and is resulting in all kinds of questions and uncertainties, the Virginia Aquarium has never veered from its mission. From teacher trainings, social media live events, and free educational videos on our YouTube channel to all that was mentioned above, you can see that we are determined to find new ways to continue strengthening our partnership with educators to inspire marine conservation.