You and your students can dive deeper into science with a 45-minute facilitated, hands-on learning experience in our Knight Learning Center. We’ve developed standards-aligned curriculum to bring marine, earth and space science to life for your students. The experience can accommodate a maximum of nine (9) students per class and is subject to availability. Learning Labs are only available during the academic year. The experience is subject to availability and maximum class size will vary. At least one chaperone must remain with the group at all times.
Learning Lab Options
Sea Life Sorting
Students will sort, classify and compare shells in this ocean and coastal themed experience that celebrates the biodiversity of life on Earth. Hands-on activities will teach students how to observe, investigate and categorize our diverse mollusk (shell) collection gathered over decades from all around the globe, ranging from rare finds to common Florida shells. Students will learn to recognize the similarities and differences in shapes, colors and sizes, and will be guided to match sea creatures needs with their environments and habitats.
Young biologists will sink their teeth into the world of some of the oldest animals on Earth: crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials! Students will go on a journey that follows the evolution of these remarkable reptiles while exploring their unique adaptations through engaging activities, including a special viewing of both crocodile and alligator skulls from our museum’s collection. Then, students will compare physical features of alligators and crocodiles and choose their favorite by making their own alligator or crocodile face mask.
Day and Night
Students will blast off into outer space to explore the key components for our planet, including our star, the sun, and our natural satellite, the moon. A facilitator will guide students to discover the key roles the sun and moon play in the repeating patterns that make day and night. Then they will explore how positions and rotations help to create the four seasons. Students will put together a planetary orbital model with a special focus on the positioning between the sun, moon and earth to uncover how these celestial bodies can result in solar and lunar eclipses.
Wind Tunnel Design
Students will get to apply their engineering skills and explore how they can make flying contraptions go higher, further and faster. Using a variety of materials—including everyday objects—they’ll be encouraged to create their own flying contraptions and then given the opportunity to test them out in our own vertical wind tunnel. Their flying contraptions will go through different challenges, all encouraging design readjustments and trial and error—a friendly part of the engineering process.
Building the Future
Students will have the chance to let their creativity flow as they prepare to become the next generation of problem solvers by exploring the fundamentals of engineering. This hands-on introduction to the engineering design process will encourage creative thinking, team work and perseverance while students tackle a bridge building challenge. Teams will plan, build and test how their designs respond to weight and length demands and then be challenged to redesign and retest to create the ultimate bridge.
Fingerprints of Light
Students will have the opportunity to jump into an astrophysicist’s shoes as they study how light’s properties and behavior are applied to astronomy and human space exploration. Students will experiment using tools like color filters, diffraction gratings and colorful spectrum gas tubes to note how gases (especially the ones we as humans need) emit light and have their own unique light pattern, or “fingerprint.” Practicing the principles they’ve learned, they will then decide whether to pursue space exploration to different case planets by analyzing their light spectrums.
Motion of the Ocean
Students will gain a broader understanding of how ocean currents are a constantly moving, interconnected energy system powered by forces that play a key role on our planet. Drawing inspiration from a real-life serendipitous experiment with rubber ducky drifters, students will engage with a hands-on simulation model to observe how wind and landmasses affect movement for surface currents and plot data of paths taken as they monitor a drifter. They will then be introduced to how new technology can further aid science research by checking in on ocean drifters’ tracks as part of the Global Ocean Observing System and apply their new knowledge to predict future drifter tracks.
Discover what our planet looked like millions of years before humans walked the Earth. Students will spend time learning about fossils and what they can tell us about Earth’s history with a chance to view Frost’s fossil collection up close. Students will also step into the role of junior paleontologist by participating in a mini dig, where they will uncover what is like to make a new discovery from mapping out their site to identifying their findings.
Students will investigate the geophysical phenomenon of tectonic plates and how they have continuously changed the surface of our planet from Pangea to Modern Earth. They will visualize movements through various props and puzzle pieces while learning how to interpret maps before making predictions based on information gathered as to where earth’s topography may be going. As they uncover the different layers of the earth, they will also have the opportunity to observe and categorize striking pieces of the museum’s rock and mineral collection and use tools to view them up-close to identify patterns within the rock cycle and how weathering and erosion play a part in their formation.
Students will light up with curiosity as they explore the science of luminescence. Starting with an exploration of the properties of light and identifying examples of how luminescence exists in the natural world, students will then take a closer look at how fluorescence, a form of luminescence, is used as a scientific tool by exploring a real-world application in biology where genetically modified fluorescent fish are used to better understand genetics, including an illuminating introduction to Punnett Squares.
Students will dive into a slimy (and sometimes smelly!) dissection that investigates the biology of one of the earth’s most highly developed invertebrates: squid. Students will examine and identify the special and unique features and adaptations these mollusks have developed over time to help them survive. They’ll also analyze the squid’s role in the marine food web along with the characteristics they share with their mollusk relatives. Don’t worry, the smell comes off‚ with a little soap and water—but the memory lasts forever!
Water Quality Testing
Students will dive into a water chemistry-based experiment by comparing and contrasting variables such as temperature, acidity, salinity and nutrient balance from sources such as freshwater, local bay water and even water from our own aquarium. As they gather results, students will make inferences on what they mean for an aquatic system, especially for aquatic creatures to live and thrive. As they conclude their lesson, they will review real life studies that are responding to the changing climate and pollution including research at Frost Science that is working on increasing the heat tolerance of corals as ocean temperatures rise.
From matching fingerprints to analyzing ink samples using chromatography, students will step into the roles of forensic scientists. Students will learn the importance of careful observations while working through different stations as they analyze different types of evidence. Students will use the same tools as the experts as they use the evidence given to draw conclusions like real forensic scientists. Afterwards, they will present their findings and have a conversation about the next steps that would be taken in a real lab.