Live animals and realia motivate your students to become scientific investigators. Our hands-on Discovery Lab programs support NGSS three-dimensional science learning through engaging, age-appropriate activities led by our teams of marine science instructors. Your students will be inspired by real science to protect our ocean.
Following are descriptions of Discovery Labs by grade level. The main NGSS Performance Expectation supported by each program is shown in blue text. Because each Discovery Lab program is designed for grade-level-specific science standards, no more than two consecutive grade levels may be scheduled together for one Discovery Lab.
SPINES, SLIME & TUBE FEET (K)
Work with live sea stars, urchins, sea cucumbers, and sand dollars to explore the “gripping” world of spiny-skinned echinoderms. Marvel at the amazing diversity among these ocean cousins, and learn the surprising ways their body parts work.
AWESOME ADAPTATIONS (1)
Investigate live animals and plants to discover the variety of ways marine creatures fulfill their own needs. Learn about camouflage, symbiosis, and how different species defend themselves. Decipher how the shapes of teeth reveal what an animal eats.
FOSSIL FROLIC (2)
Compare live animals to real fossils from local rock formations for clues about creatures that lived here millions of years ago. Run an experiment where rocks bubble and fizz if they contain “hard evidence” of life from the ancient seas
SHARK SCIENCE (2)
Explore the fascinating world of sharks and their cartilaginous cousins — rays and skates. Learn about sharks’ amazing adaptations and what makes them different from other fish. Discover what a “mermaid’s purse” has to do with a shark’s life cycle.
SUITED FOR SUCCESS (3)
Marine animals have developed a dizzying array of special features and behaviors to survive the game of life. Learn how whales and dolphins are exceptionally adapted to life in the open ocean. Run an experiment to learn how various marine species increase their chances of survival from predators.
YOU OTTER KNOW (4)
The sea otter is one of Monterey Bay’s most well-known and important inhabitants, and it is key in shaping coastal ecosystems. Learn about the otter’s important role in a kelp forest food chain. Run a live experiment to see which kelp forest animals are best suited to evade hungry otters.
FROM STREAM TO SEA (4-5)
Work with a watershed model to learn how the health of our coastal watershed affects local beaches where we fish, swim, and play. Learn why salmon are a sentinel of watershed health by studying their life history and food chain.
SCIENTISTS AT WORK (5)
Work with an assortment of live animals to develop scientific skills—observe strategies sea stars use to flip over, devise investigative questions from observations, and collect data to identify different species of sea stars and crabs.
ADAPTED TO THE DEEP (6-8)
Illuminate the bizarre world of the deep sea by conducting experiments to learn how pressure and visible light change with depth. Explore how deep water organisms have adapted to extreme conditions to find mates, hunt, and avoid predators.
ANALYZE THIS! (6-8)
Who’s the speediest echinoderm? Are sea otters opportunists? Investigate these questions — and more — while honing scientific skills with this array of experiments. An excellent lab to gear up for the science fair.
MARINE MAMMALS (9-12, college)
Compare and contrast the anatomy, physiology, and evolutionary history of marine mammals. Investigate realia from pinnipeds, cetaceans, and sirenians. Learn how Long Marine Lab scientists study dolphin physiology and elephant seal diving to reveal their phenomenal abilities.
PHYLUM FRENZY (9-12, college)
Work with a remarkable diversity of live animals from four phyla (cnidarians, echinoderms, mollusks, arthropods). Search for evolutionary similarities and differences. Observe live echinoderms through dissecting scopes to reveal microscopic structures and their amazing functions.