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Teachers Invited for Free Look at Maritime Aquarium

Participants in one of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s Marine Life Study Cruises get a good look at a sea robin – a fish known for their broad pectoral fins that can open and close like a fan. (Photo & caption: Maritime Aquarium)
Participants in one of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s Marine Life Study Cruises get a good look at a sea robin – a fish known for their broad pectoral fins that can open and close like a fan. (Photo & caption: Maritime Aquarium)
If you're a teacher, you're invited to look over what the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk has to offer for classroom visits.

A special teacher "Fish School" at the aquarium from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26. The event is free for teachers, but registration is required.

Just be careful to leave plenty of time in your plans for crowded, slow Interstate 95, which is typically clogged, particularly northbound, in the afternoon (the rush hour is typically over by 7:30 p.m. or so).

Here's what a news release issued Friday by aquarium has to say about the event:

Educators will have The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk all to themselves for free on Wed., Feb. 26 as they explore and preview the Aquarium’s exhibits, educational programs and IMAX® movies.

The teachers’ open house, called “Fish School,” will run from 4 to 8 p.m.  Purpose of the free event is to show teachers how they can connect their students and curricula with the Aquarium’s unique educational programs.

Plus, the event offers IMAX movie screenings and the chance to preview The Maritime Aquarium’s newest “get close” opportunity: “Jiggle A Jelly,” a special touch-a-jellyfish exhibit.

“The Maritime Aquarium is an incredible educational resource for the region, yet many teachers may not know what we offer beyond being a fun place for a field trip,” said Aquarium President Jennifer Herring.

“We can bring to life teachers’ lessons in environmental education, animal adaptations, ecosystems and other science curricula – and all of it helps to meet Connecticut, New York and New Jersey STEM standards.”

During “Fish School,” Aquarium educators will staff display tables throughout the galleries, explaining such topics as the Aquarium’s successful Whole School Partnership programs, which are helping to close the achievement gap in seven area schools.

And some of the many educational programs that the Aquarium offers, from microscope discoveries to squid dissections, will be demonstrated.

Teachers also can learn about The Maritime Aquarium’s new research vessel, due for its maiden study cruises this spring.

The $2.7 million, 65-foot catamaran will have a hybrid propulsion system, making it bigger, quieter and greener than the Aquarium’s current 34-year-old trawler.

The new boat will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space with total capacity of 65, more than twice that of the Aquarium’s current 40-foot boat.

“Fish School” will include details about financial aid for field trips, including busing. Even if teachers can’t swing a field trip to the Aquarium, Herring added, they’ll learn at “Fish School” how the Aquarium can come to them through “Traveling Teacher” programs, which send Aquarium educators out to classrooms all across the tri-state area.

The “Fish School” open house also will let teachers understand how to incorporate the Aquarium’s IMAX movies into their lessons, during screenings of “Tornado Alley” at 5:30 p.m. and “Great White Shark” at 7 p.m.

And teachers attending “Fish School” can see that it’s safe to touch the live jellyfish displayed in “Jiggle A Jelly,” a new exhibit open on weekends, holidays and school vacation weeks through April 20.

Maritime Aquarium volunteers staff the exhibit, showing visitors how to safely touch the live moon jellyfish, a species that has tentacles but is generally harmless to people.

Free light fare will be served during the evening.  Aquarium programs, memberships and other prizes will be awarded in drawings.

“Fish School” is free to educators (and educators only; no spouses or children please). Advance registration is required and IMAX seats are limited. Reserve now at reservations@maritimeaquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700, ext. 2206.

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