« December 2010 | Main | February 2011 »

6 posts from January 2011

January 21, 2011

Resources for Teachers

As a teacher, don’t you love sharing lessons, resources and ideas with other teachers? Shedd will now offer a chance for teachers to share lessons and activities as well as have discussions to enhance your science curriculum. We’re featuring 6th-grade teacher Kevin Boltz’s lesson called “Exploring the Various Types of Scientists.”

Download PDF files of Kevin's lesson plan:
Exploring Scientists Lesson Plan
Example Page (Teacher Copy)
Example Page (Student Copy)
Research Page
Poster Project Requirements

Leave a comment to ask questions, add your own ideas, or share how the lesson works with your class.

Want to be highlighted as the next Teacher Feature? Email [email protected] to find out how!

January 12, 2011

The Well-mannered Octopus, Part 2

Odie-training-4 "It’s so hard to say if octopuses are ‘intelligent,’ " says aquarist Eve Poynter, leader of the octopus training team, "because animals that learn the way we learn appear smart to us.

"A lot of things that we find intelligent, our octopus, Odie, is able to do because of his dexterity," she continues. "A lot of this is natural behavior. Octopuses hunt a lot of prey that can be difficult to find and capture. What he does in training sessions is natural for him and necessary in the wild."

Continue reading "The Well-mannered Octopus, Part 2 " »

January 11, 2011

The Well-mannered Octopus, Part 1

Odie-training-3 In October we blogged about International Cephalopod Awareness Days, a word-of-mouth celebration that has been gaining suction, if you will, since it was conceived five years ago by an online community of octopus, nautilus, cuttlefish and squid enthusiasts. ICAD was embraced by Shedd’s octopus team—seven aquarists plus one of Shedd’s marine mammals training experts—which trains Odie, our giant Pacific octopus.

Yes, we train the octopus.

What’s good for the dolphins and belugas is also good for the rest of Shedd’s larger animals, including the river otter, sea turtle, snapping turtle and monkeys. Training is an opportunity to give animals physical activity and mental stimulation. But even more essential, training establishes behaviors by which the animals can participate in their own healthcare routines. It allows aquarists and trainers to easily examine them or, when necessary, ensure that our veterinarians have safe and ready hands-on access to them.

Continue reading "The Well-mannered Octopus, Part 1" »

New Year’s Resolution: Drive a Green Machine!

As we think about how we can be more "green" in 2011, one topic is a conundrum: cars. While driving is a necessity for many of us, it isn’t a very environmentally friendly activity. The United States has 30 percent of the world’s cars, yet those cars emit 45 percent of automotive carbon dioxide, the primary gas that contributes to global warming. The good news is that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling your automotive pollution, which affects both air and water quality.

Continue reading "New Year’s Resolution: Drive a Green Machine!" »

January 05, 2011

Shedd Recycles! A look back on 2010

Gardens_480P2761 It’s the start of a new year, and at Shedd that means adding up the old year’s numbers. Before I started working here, I didn’t appreciate how much *stuff* aquarium and its animals need to thrive. Think about it: from the handheld radios our facilities teams use to communicate across our vast building, to the silicon sea creatures decorating our hallways—it’s no wonder we ask a lot of our recyclers!

In 2010, Shedd recycled more than 5 tons of electronic waste and more than 1,000 pounds of previously landfilled materials such as Styrofoam and Plexiglas. We composted 16.5 tons of food and plant material, bringing our total to 129 tons since the program began in 2003. The kitchens used more than 17,000 pounds of fryer oil and recycled every last drop. Aquarists raised safe, sustainable foods on site, including brine shrimp, water fleas and apple snails. Our facilities and Fishes teams sent hundreds of specialty light bulbs to recyclers, keeping the equivalent of 14 grams of mercury from contaminating the environment.

Continue reading "Shedd Recycles! A look back on 2010" »

January 03, 2011

Fish of the Month - farmed mussels

January’s Fish of the Month is farmed mussels.

Aquaculture, the practice of fish farming, is the world’s fastest growing food industry. It is easy to see why choosing farmed seafood that is healthy for both the environment and humans is so imperative! The distinctive qualities and farming methods of mussels make them a top choice for sustainable aquaculture.

Cultured mussels were discovered in the 13th century by accident. Legend has it a hungry shipwrecked sailor positioned wood poles and nets in the water to catch fish. Upon his return to the traps, hundreds of mussels were naturally suspended to the poles underwater!  Today, ninety percent of the world’s mussels are farmed, the majority in similar suspended systems.

Continue reading "Fish of the Month - farmed mussels" »