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CLASSROOM PROGRAMS
Programs in the classrooms are 30-45 minutes and can be scheduled at 10:00AM, 11:00 AM and Noon. Often, special programs or times can be scheduled to accommodate your visit.
Please call Group Reservations at (423) 265-0698 or (800) 262-0695 (ext. 3600) for specific guidelines.

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Kindergarten through 2nd Grade:

  • Jellyfish Dream
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Auditorium Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Auditorium Program
    Join JJ, a young child curious about the ocean world, who uses the power of imagination to transform into a beautiful jellyfish. JJ travels through the ocean meeting other exciting species of jellies as well as jelly predators. Students will discover what a jellyfish is, how and why jellies sting and more. Students also learn about the ocean habitat that jellyfish need to survive.

    Lesson: Learn about the life of jellyfish, how they swim, what they eat, how they sting and meet other sea creatures.
    Conservation Message: All life on Earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Auditorium

  • Life Cycles
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class/Lab Program
    Piece together the different stages of individual life cycles as students discover and compare how animals grow and develop. Students gain an understanding of metamorphosis and the needs of all living things as they meet live, crawling creatures. Finally, students work in teams to complete a puzzle depicting an animal’s complete life cycle.

    Lesson: Learn about life cycles, animal growth and development
    Conservation Message: All life on Earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Animal Adaptations
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class/Lab Program
    We play hide and seek as a fun game, but many animals play hide and seek to survive! This highly interactive program uses pictures, props and live animals to introduce students to the many colorful ways animals blend into their environment. Also, students learn about some of the problems these same animals face that protective coloration cannot help. Everyone gets a chance to create their own camouflaged critter to take home.

    Lesson: Learn about protective coloration of animals and their struggle for survival.
    Conservation Message: All life on Earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Lunch N’ Learn
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo
    Wish you had time for an education program? Need a warm, dry place for lunch? Meet both these challenges by joining us for a “Lunch and Learn” program. You supply the lunch and we’ll provide the education. Students view a short (20 min.) video while they eat and then meet one of the education animals or test their skill in a challenging game.

    Program choices for K-2 students are Animal Senses or Penguins
      Animal Senses Lesson: Learn about adaptations of fascinating animals found around the world.
      Penguins Lesson: Learn ten remarkable facts about penguins.
    Conservation Message: All life on earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Biology Lab, Think Tank and the Discovery Classroom.

    Maximum student group size is 100 (students will be split between the three classrooms) and the minimum group size is 10. Seating is available for students and 9 adult chaperones; additional adults may not have chairs. Lunch and Learn Programs are scheduled Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM, Noon and 1:00 PM.

    For more information about the program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 4050) or e-mail jal@tnaqua.org.

    To schedule your Lunch and Learn program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 3600) and ask for Group Reservations.



3rd through 5th Grade:
  • Wonderful Working Wetlands                Answer Sheet
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class/Lab Program
    Swamps, marshes and bogs are dark, spooky places full of mosquitoes, mud, snakes and all sorts of creepy things. No one would want to visit or live there, or would they? Students meet living inhabitants of three wetland ecosystems and gain an understanding of the adaptations that allow organisms to survive in these watery environments. Students work in teams to discover the connections between animals and plants while playing a food web game.

    Lesson: Discover the environmental importance and function of wetland ecosystems.
    Conservation Message: Healthy ecosystems provide us many essential services and benefits.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Stream Scene
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class/Lab Program
    Discover ways to determine the health of a stream by its inhabitants. See unique adaptations of animals that live their life in cold mountain streams when you become stream creatures as we play a game of understanding and find out how things in and around the stream can change its ability to support life.

    Lesson: Learn about animal adaptations for survival in freshwater streams and the role of indicator organisms in assessing water quality..
    Conservation Message:An impact on any element of an ecosystem has ramifications throughout the ecosystem.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Lunch N’ Learn
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo
    Wish you had time for an education program? Need a warm, dry place for lunch? Meet both these challenges by joining us for a “Lunch and Learn” program. You supply the lunch and we’ll provide the education. Students view a short (20 min.) video while they eat and then meet one of the education animals or test their skill in a challenging game.

    Program choices for 3rd-5th grade students are Reptiles or Penguins
      Reptiles Lesson:
    Learn about adaptations of fascinating animals found around the world.
      Penguins Lesson: Learn ten remarkable facts about penguins.
    Conservation Message: All life on earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Biology Lab, Think Tank and the Discovery Classroom.

    Maximum student group size is 100 (students will be split between the three classrooms) and the minimum group size is 10. Seating is available for students and 9 adult chaperones; additional adults may not have chairs. Lunch and Learn Programs are scheduled Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM, Noon and 1:00 PM.

    For more information about the program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 4050) or e-mail jal@tnaqua.org.

    To schedule your Lunch and Learn program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 3600) and ask for Group Reservations.

  • Adaptations from A-Z
    A 3rd through 8th Grade special opportunity
    Explore the natural world close-up from the comfort of an IMAX seat as you encounter a variety of animals and habitats. Then learn what it takes to survive in the natural world as you travel with an Aquarium staff member through the Aquarium galleries. The 2.5- to 3-hour guided tour, tailored to your grade level (3-5 or 6-8), enhances your students’ learning experience.

    Note: This special opportunity is available to groups of up to 125 students Monday through Thursday from September through February. Limits on group size may apply depending on selected date. A fee of $11.25 per student includes the IMAX film, Aquarium admission, guided tour and the teacher information packet ($8.00 per student if not attending an IMAX movie). Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the tour date.

    For further information about this special opportunity, call (800) 262-0695 and ask for George Bartnik (ext. 4049). If you are ready to make a reservation, call (423) 265-0698 or (800) 262-0695 and ask for Group Reservations.

  • Behind the Scenes Tours
    For grades 3rd through 12th
    How do we recreate habitats in the Aquarium? Food, water, shelter and space are stressed as students in grades 3 - 12 discover what goes on “behind the scenes” (BTS) in a specially designed tour. From the kitchen to the filtration room, the BTS tour highlights what it takes to convince over 10,000 plants and animals that the Aquarium is their habitat. The 60- to 75-minute BTS tours are offered on weekdays September through March between the hours of 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Group size is limited to 15 participants per tour and we can offer up to two tours at the same time. BTS tours are available for a fee of $5.00 per student. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the tour date.


6th Grade through 8th Grade:
  • Scientific Name Game               
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class Lab Program
    When two different things share the same common name all sorts of confusion can occur. In this program, students will see how scientists use Greek and Latin root words to create unique binomial names. Finishing off with a game and creating new names really helps this dive into etymology make a big splash for students.

    Lesson: Learn why scientific names are created and how they are used as tools in science.
    Conservation Message: Human beings are an integral part of all ecosystems.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Plankton Power               Answer Sheet
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class Lab Program
    What do the largest whales in the ocean have in common with the smallest mussels in a river? All depend on plankton as a food source. Your students explore a variety of interesting adaptations that help plankton survive as they participate in the Great Phytoplankton Race. Who can build the slowest sinking plankton? Join us for your chance to compete!

    Lesson: Learn more about plankton and their role in the ocean.
    Conservation Message: All life on Earth exists within an ecosystem.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Lunch N’ Learn
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo
    Wish you had time for an education program? Need a warm, dry place for lunch? Meet both these challenges by joining us for a “Lunch and Learn” program. You supply the lunch and we’ll provide the education. Students view a short (20 min.) video while they eat and then meet one of the education animals or test their skill in a challenging game.

    Program choices for 6th-8th grade students are Biodiversity or Penguins
      Biodiversity Lesson:
    Learn about adaptations of fascinating animals found around the world.
      Penguin Lesson: Learn ten remarkable facts about penguins.
    Conservation Message: All life on earth exists as part of an ecosystem.
    Location: Biology Lab, Think Tank and the Discovery Classroom.

    Maximum student group size is 100 (students will be split between the three classrooms) and the minimum group size is 10. Seating is available for students and 9 adult chaperones; additional adults may not have chairs. Lunch and Learn Programs are scheduled Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM, Noon and 1:00 PM.

    For more information about the program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 4050) or e-mail jal@tnaqua.org.

    To schedule your Lunch and Learn program, call (800) 262-0695 (ext. 3600) and ask for Group Reservations.

  • Adaptations from A-Z
    A 3rd through 8th Grade special opportunity
    Explore the natural world close-up from the comfort of an IMAX seat as you encounter a variety of animals and habitats. Then learn what it takes to survive in the natural world as you travel with an Aquarium staff member through the Aquarium galleries. The 2½- to 3-hour guided tour, tailored to your grade level (3-5 or 6-8), enhances your students’ learning experience.

    Note: This special opportunity is available to groups of up to 125 students Monday through Thursday from September through February. Limits on group size may apply depending on selected date. A fee of $12.75 per student includes the IMAX film, Aquarium admission, guided tour and the teacher information packet ($9.00 per student if not attending an IMAX movie). Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the tour date.

    For further information about this special opportunity, call (800) 262-0695 and ask for George Bartnik (ext. 4049). If you are ready to make a reservation, call (423) 265-0698 or (800) 262-0695 and ask for Group Reservations.

  • Behind the Scenes Tours
    For grades 3rd through 12th
    How do we recreate habitats in the Aquarium? Food, water, shelter and space are stressed as students in grades 3 - 12 discover what goes on “behind the scenes” (BTS) in a specially designed tour. From the kitchen to the filtration room, the BTS tour highlights what it takes to convince over 10,000 plants and animals that the Aquarium is their habitat. The 60- to 75-minute BTS tours are offered on weekdays September through March between the hours of 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Group size is limited to 15 participants per tour and we can offer up to two tours at the same time. BTS tours are available for a fee of $5.00 per student. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the tour date.

9th Grade through 12th Grade:

  • Seahorse Rescue Mission              Answer Sheet
    Make reservation online > Aquarium only & Class/Lab Program
    Make reservation online > Aquarium/IMAX Combo & Class/Lab Program
    Seahorse populations are declining and we need your help! Students complete background research and conduct chemical water tests as they determine the source of the pollution. Can your group save the seahorses?

    Lesson: Learn how to test water for basic impurities. Discuss effects on animal populations.
    Conservation Message: We have the responsibility to act, to be good stewards and to leave a healthy ecosystem for our families and future generations.
    Location: Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab and Think Tank. The classroom(s) will be assigned to best meet the size and schedule of your group.

  • Behind the Scenes Tours
    For grades 3rd through 12th
    How do we recreate habitats in the Aquarium? Food, water, shelter and space are stressed as students in grades 3 - 12 discover what goes on “behind the scenes” (BTS) in a specially designed tour. From the kitchen to the filtration room, the BTS tour highlights what it takes to convince over 10,000 plants and animals that the Aquarium is their habitat. The 60- to 75-minute BTS tours are offered on weekdays September through March between the hours of 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Group size is limited to 15 participants per tour and we can offer up to two tours at the same time. BTS tours are available for a fee of $5.00 per student. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance of the tour date.


Classroom Descriptions:

Our classrooms are located in the Tennessee Aquarium and the IMAX 3D Theater Center.

Ocean Journey Building
The Tennessee Aquarium’s newest exhibit takes a whole new building! Ocean Journey showcases the Secret Reef exhibit (over 1/2 million gallons) which highlights the extraordinary habitat of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary – the northernmost coral reef in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way from the ocean surface and through corals on the ocean floor, visitors discover the tremendous variety of life - from 9-foot sharks to 4-inch bluehead wrasse - found in this specialized habitat. Other amazing experiences include an opportunity to feel the unique texture of sharks and stingrays, to observe remarkable animals that have no bones and to watch tropical butterflies flutter through the Butterfly Garden, occasionally landing on an excited visitor. Through this part of the Aquarium journey, visitors get a taste of life in the sub-tropical/tropical regions of our world.

River Journey Building
The Tennessee Aquarium’s River Journey (the world’s first major institution dedicated to freshwater ecosystems) focuses primarily on the Tennessee River and related systems. The River Journey experience follows a drop of water through a variety of freshwater habitats as it makes its way from the river’s source in the Appalachian high country, through its midstream and finally arriving in the Delta country of Louisiana. Along the way, visitors pass through exciting living environments that accurately recreate the habitats of the fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and arthropods that call the river home. A stop at the Sturgeon Encounter touch tank enables visitors to discover local conservation efforts focused on the lake sturgeon while becoming intimately familiar with these primitive, scaleless fish.

Exhibits are continually changing and being upgraded. New and different animals are added and natural/seasonal behaviors such as nest building and rearing young can be observed.

IMAX® Center
Practically next door to the Aquarium, the massive six-story IMAX 3D Theater combines breathtaking crystal clear 3D and 2D images with state-of-the-art six channel IMAX® digital sound for an experience unlike any other. The spacious 400-seat theater is a fun way to explore interesting topics and places you’ve never visited. While you’re waiting for film seating, explore the habitats featured in the Great Hall graphic panels with the Know Your Planet brochure, available in the Great Hall.

Discovery Classroom, Biology Lab, Think Tank
Students in grades K - 12 have the opportunity to experience learning in an exciting way by participating in hands-on, minds-on programs in our three classrooms. Games and live animals add to the younger students’ knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live. Microscopes and chemical test kits allow older students to carry out detailed simulations to understand and solve real life problems. The Discovery Classroom is located in the lower level of the River Journey building. Both the Biology Lab and the Think Tank are located in the IMAX® Center.

Maximum for Biology Lab and Think Tank: 25 students per classroom
Maximum for Discovery Classroom: 36 students
Minimum for each classroom: 10 students

Larger groups can be accommodated by using multiple classrooms.

Auditorium
The younger students visit with a larger than life costumed character while older students become part of the act, bringing to life the plants and animals of the world’s many ecosystems while discovering some of the many aspects of conservation. Slide presentations, sound effects, drama and interactive discussions all make up this unique experience for students in grades K - 8 in the 185-seat Auditorium located in the lower level of the River Journey Building.

Maximum: 185 students/chaperones. Minimum: 50 students.

Room capacities cannot exceed those listed. Extra adults may have to wait outside the classrooms/auditorium.


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