Expedition: Aquarium

We recently visited Salt Lake’s Living Planet Aquarium.  There’s just nothing like taking a day off of school for a learning expedition.  {Sometimes Mom needs the break as much as the kids do!}  Besides just the break though, expeditions outside of the regular ol’ school day are the most memorable learning experiences we’ve had.  Kids learn when they DO.  They will remember so well the things they really live, so get out there and live!  Experience!  Break away from the books now and again!  We aren’t even studying fish right now, but you know, sometimes that doesn’t matter.  Igniting excitement for learning and creating a memorable experience is enough of a reason for heading out on a learning expedition.

I thought you might want to go along on a little photo tour of our expedition. . . hope you enjoy.

Highlights From The Living Planet Aquarium

Other than crabs, almost no one eats seahorses because they are so bony and indigestible.
Anemone and Clownfish – a symbiotic relationship
Can you spot the Amazon Milk Frog?  The “milk” in its name actually refers to a white, poisonous secretion.
It’s a Jelly!
Check out those lobster claws!  Did you know that lobsters used to be considered poor man’s chicken?  In colonial times they were only eaten by paupers, pigs, and goats.  How times have changed.
Reminds me of snorkeling in Hanauma Bay on Oahu, Hawaii.  Read this neat article to find out about how fish eyes see and why reef fish are so colorful.
The touch tanks were the favorite part of the day for most of the kids.
An eel.  Eels eat voraciously.  They are carnivores and like eating lobsters, fish, crabs, mussels, snails, frogs, and octopuses.
Nemo? Is that you?
Did you know cuttlefish have green blood, three hearts, and can shoot ink and change color?
Lionfish were accidentally introduced to the Atlantic off the East Coast of North America and in the Caribbean.  They think it happened when an aquarium broke in Florida during a hurricane.  Lionfish are dangerous and intrusive, causing problems to other species in the area.  They sure are beautiful though.   In nature, beautiful often means dangerous.
Shark in the fish tunnel
Fish Tunnel
This stingray is from South America and is called a Polka Dot Stingray.  Most rays live in saltwater, but this guy is actually a freshwater dweller who would be swimming in the Amazon if he weren’t in the aquarium.
This was a huge jellyfish.
This was a huge jellyfish.  Some jellyfish are bigger than people.  A group of jellyfish is called a smack.

Showing What We Learned

After our expeditions are over, we often make something to help us remember what we learned and saw.  It might be a slideshow on the computer, a Powerpoint presentation, a poster, a shape book, a trivia game, a shoe box diorama, a journal entry, a mobile, a report, a painting, or an oral presentation.  I let each kid choose what they want to make, and running on fresh enthusiasm from our expedition, they love to create and then show off what we saw.

This is what a learning expedition looks like in our homeschool.

Learning transforms book work into an adventure when it’s active like this.  The next time we got to a library all of the kids were searching for books on fish, coral reefs, oceans, and marine animals.

Gorgeous and amazing and awesome all wrapped up in one, huh?  Thanks Living Planet Aquarium!  We had a great time!!!  What have you gotten out to see lately?

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