Students K-12th Grade

Whitney Lab K-12 Science Education Programs

The goal of the Whitney Lab’s K-12 outreach education programs is to use the Lab’s resources and expertise in modern biology to enrich science education in the surrounding communities and increase STEM education for local student learners. At the elementary school level, our programs introduce younger students to the scientific method, and do so in a format that promotes observation and questioning. At the higher level we provide high school students with the resources to conduct an experiment using modern biotechnology.

Watch the student preview of the Day at the Whitney, and be a Scientist for a Day

Program Overview: The Traveling Zoo

This program takes a suite of marine animals to local K-3 classes. Whitney-trained docents use those animals in a hands-on setting to introduce the children to marine biology by exploring how the animals breathe, find and eat food, protect themselves and generally survive in their environment. The format of this class promotes observation and questioning by the students.

  • For kindergarten through third grade students

  • Available Tuesdays and Thursdays, September through May

  • 25 student maximum per class (we can accommodate 2-3 classes per school visit)

  • $50 per class to cover the cost of transportation


Program Overview: A Day at the Whitney Lab

For this program, students in Grades 4-6 come to the Whitney Lab for the better part of a school day. In the lab they circulate through a series of docent-guided sessions that include conducting experiments, observing microscopic and planktonic organims collected from the Whitney dock. The format is designed to promote questioning and observation by the students at a more advanced level than the Traveling Zoo. The curriculum is designed to meet Florida Common Core standards.

  • For school groups of students in grades four through six

  • Available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, September through May

  • Choose between a 2 or 2.5 hour program. Begins at 10 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. and ends by 1 p.m.

  • 12-30 students per class

  • $6 per student to cover costs of supplies

Program Overview: Traveling Turtle Trunk

Students will learn about Florida’s sea turtles, their nesting habits, how to sample populations, and step into the role of a sea turtle biologist. Lessons are designed to translate real sea turtle research into meaningful conservation lessons. Students get hands on with tools of the trade, and in the role of biologists to see what real scientists to on a daily basis. This STEM-based program is encased in a large “traveling trunk” will bring research and conservation alive with your students as they discover sea turtle artifacts and “work up” their own sea turtle model. The trunk contains four conservation-based lessons that align with state standards. Lessons are pre-printed, cut, laminated and ready to go in the lesson binder, leaving little to no work for you!

  • For school groups of students in grades 1st through 8th

  • Available for one month “FREE rental” from September through May

Offered to you at NO CHARGE through a partnership between Whitney Laboratory and Inwater Research Group and funded by a Sea Turtle Grants Program grant.

Registration Information

To register for our K-12 programs please contact Brenda Cannaliato at 904-461-4014 or email education coordinator.

If you would like to teach in these programs or help behind the scenes, please see the Volunteer page.

Prepare your group 

If you are planning to attend A Day at the Whitney Lab, please give your students the pre and post tests. Send student scores to education coordinator. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Give your drivers directions. Also give them map of Whitney campus.

Check out our FAQs and if you still have questions, contact us by phone at 904-461-4014.


Day at the Whitney

Thank you to our supporters!

We thank the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation for their support for this year to provide K-12 educational programming at the Whitney Laboratory. Thank you to the Florida Power and Light Company for their program support support, as well as the Putnam County 3rd grade Initiative for their support for our expansion to Putnam County Schools.  Private donations are essential to providing hands on education that reaches over 5,000 students each year. If you would like to donate to the Education Fund at Whitney online please go here or call Jessica Long at 904 461-4018 for more information.