Just Keep Swimming: Authentic Learning at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium

I strongly value authentic learning experiences for my students, so their participation in the Greater Cleveland Aquarium N. E. M. O. program provides the opportunity for first-hand experience and insight into the ways that changes in environment affect fish behavior. This photo shows paper aquariums created by students at the beginning of the authentic learning experience. Students observe changes in the classroom fish tank throughout the school year, while actively participating in care for the fish and maintenance of the tank. During this project-based learning experience, my students create a lap-book. At the end of the program, students put the knowledge they learned in the classroom to the test during a trip to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Authentic learning consists of experiential learning.

For more information about the Greater Cleveland Aquarium N.E.M.O. program and other resources for educators, go to http://greaterclevelandaquarium.com/educate/teacher-resource-locker/

Multiple resources on authentic learning experiences are available through the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) at this link:


Stephanie Wojtowicz received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as well as her master’s degree in Reading from Baldwin-Wallace College. She has been trained by the Ohio Department of Education as a teacher mentor for teachers who are new to the CMSD. She loves teaching and strives to connect her students to the world around them. Stephanie actively participates in a variety of school committees. She has been teaching in Cleveland for more than 20 years. Outside of the classroom, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, reading and traveling.