Kindergartners visited the Sea Life Aquarium in Auburn Hills, MI as a part of our "Exploration" theme unit. Our workshop host, Shannon, first led us through some fishy and wiggly physical activities after such a long bus ride.
Kindergartners were able to handle several real and realistic looking models of underwater specimen e.g. a giant shark's tooth, a shark fin and a manta ray's tail. We were informed that several of these items are acquired by select educational groups only in order to hopefully prevent misuse.
Our budding conservationists were encouraged not to purchase certain specimen for souvenirs i.e. sea horses because its demand effects the population of that species. This information was similar to our workshop about purchasing wild animals as pets that we heard on our visit to Howell Nature Center recently.
Our group played several rousing games of "Under Sea Life Bingo". This activity helped us identify the various creatures and conservation efforts the aquarium uses for its collection of wildlife from Michigan and areas beyond the Atlantic Ocean. "Controlled breeding", "Rescue efforts" and "Protection" are some of the ways that the Sea Life Aquarium helps these creatures.
Kindergartners used their hands to demonstrate the sneaky tactics of a clown fish inside of a sea anemone. We not only talked about ways that animals protect themselves from predators, but also how we can protect under sea life by reducing, reusing and recycling our trash.
A touch and feel tank gave us an opportunity to be up close and personal. We heard some amazing facts about sea creatures and even observed a sea star eating krill while partially attached to the glass basin. A spiky urchin grasped a hand as a means of defense (and maybe a potential meal.)
Many other beautiful exhibits awaited us and loomed over our heads. We observed the slow moving bioluminescent features of a school of jellyfish and the speed and agility of manta rays and sharks.
Worth a thousand words!!!!! Thanks, Shan!
We were told that some of the goals of the aquarium are to establish a breeding program, rescue injured animals and to protect sea life and its waters. One turtle (that we also learned about in our workshop) had been injured and brought to the aquarium. The children observed that it wore a weight on its back to aid with its ability to swim upright and submerge. We found out that it will need to remain at the aquarium for the duration of his life, however, so that as it grows its providers can change the size of the weight. Other sea life is able to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
The Kindergartners hopefully walked away with not only the smiles on their faces and a desire to return with their families. They will hopefully find new ways to care for and protect living things.