Maritime Aquarium hosts free open house for educators

Maritime Aquarium educator Lauren Magliola directs observations about the harbor seals with young students during a school field trip.
Maritime Aquarium educator Lauren Magliola directs observations about the harbor seals with young students during a school field trip.

Educators can explore the teaching resources available at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk during a free after-hours open house, “Fish School” on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 4-7 p.m.

The purpose of the free evening is to show teachers and other educators the many ways they can connect their students and curricula with The Maritime Aquarium’s unique educational resources and programs, which help to fulfill state, Common Core and Next Generation Science standards.

“‘Fish School’ demonstrates all the ways the Aquarium can be an extension of the classroom,” said Tom Naiman, the Aquarium’s director of education. “From our animal exhibits to our IMAX Theater to our catalog of unique programs — for preschoolers all the way up to college level – the Aquarium and our education programs are intended to support educators, while of course teaching and inspiring their students.”

“Fish School”  is open to all working educators, including school administrators, homeschool parents and those who present educational content at libraries, community centers and other resources apart from schools. Also welcome are undergraduate and graduate students working toward education degrees.

During “Fish School,” teachers can meet with Maritime Aquarium educators, go on behind-the-scenes tours, and sample some of the Aquarium’s most popular programs, from microscope discoveries to squid dissections.

Of special note is “Sound Resilience,” a multiple-session program available for free to Grades 6-12 in 11 coastal Fairfield County school districts. Funded through a three-year grant from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “Sound Resilience” provides the opportunity for middle- and high-school students to delve into such local environmental threats as hurricanes, nor’easters, floods and coastal erosion. The standards-fulfilling program consists of three sessions: two in the school classroom and one out on Long Island Sound aboard the Aquarium’s research vessel, when students will collect environmental data and survey the coastline from the water. There’s also a professional-development component for educators.

“Sound Resilience” is free to schools in Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Weston, Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford.

Even IMAX movies can be incorporated into classroom lessons through educational guides created by the films’ producers. On Oct. 24, teachers can preview two films in Connecticut’s largest IMAX theater. Showing on the six-story screen will be Pandas at 5 p.m. This film takes audiences to a research center in China where scientists are raising giant panda cubs for introduction into the wild in an attempt to save these beloved bears. Brought in to help is a man from New Hampshire known as “the bear whisperer” for his successful work raising and releasing orphaned black bear cubs.

Also, Backyard Wilderness will be screened at 6 p.m. This film reminds us of all the nature right around our homes that we can discover and enjoy if we would just put down our devices. Filmed nearby in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, this film recently swept the Giant Screen Cinema Association’s 2018 awards — sort of the Oscars equivalent for IMAX movies.

Admission, a light dinner and parking are all free for “Fish School.” However, advance registration is required. (As this is a professional event, it is for educators only. No children or spouses, please.)

To register, email or call 203-852-0700, ext. 2206. Or register online at