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Conservation Classroom: Aquatic Animal Adventures

Aquatic Animal Adventures explores aquatic habitats from ponds to the ocean and the animals along the Zoo's American Trail that call these habitats home. This virtual school program is part of Conservation Classroom, a collection of monthly lessons for K-5 students. Each lesson has four elements: wonder (video), engage (live virtual program), act (activities), and connect (video). Follow along with all four parts or pick and choose the videos and activities you want to explore. 

Grades: K-5 

Standards: Supports NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1

Topics: habitats, adaptations, waterways, aquatic mammals

Cost: Free

I Wonder decorative thumbnail


I wonder... how are aquatic mammals so good at living in and around water? Bring your curiosity along on an adventure to learn about aquatic habitats and aquatic mammal adaptations. 

A beaver with thick, wet fur, long claws and whiskers stands on its hind legs


October 11 at 2 p.m. ET

In this free, live virtual program, meet aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals at the Zoo and learn about their unique adaptations for living in water. Program is hosted in Zoom webinar. Recording will be made available approximately 48 hours after the live program. Please note: audio and video are disabled for participants but students can still engage via polls, chat, Q&A and emojis.

Access: ASL interpretation and live captions

Language: English and simulcast in Spanish

Register Now!

Collage of sample educational activity sheets


During or after the live program, check students' knowledge on aquatic adaptations in a quick matching activity (K-1). Then, create your own aquatic superhero (K-5) and send your drawings to us at

Aquatic Adaptations Activity

Aquatic Superhero Activity

Career Connections text on an illustrated background with elephants, hearts, and checkmarks


Meet Vivian who knows all about aquatic environments. In her "unZOOsual" career, Vivian uses biology, chemistry, engineering and technology to keep the Zoo's aquatic habitats safe for our animals! 

For Educators

Educator's Materials

Conservation Classroom: Aquatic Animal Adventures i­­s best suited for grades K-5. The full lesson consists of two videos, a live program, and two activities. Refer to the Smithsonian Learning Lab collection to help teach this lesson.

Learning Lab

Letter to Guardians

After participating in the live program, print or send the following letter to guardians, explaining what their student learned in this lesson and how they can continue to engage from home.

Guardian Letter