We’re working on restructuring our SSP program due to COVID-19. Please check back in July for updates.

Free Structured School Programs

The Aquarium proudly offers free programming to classes through the donation-funded Structured School Program. Students visiting the Aquarium as part of the Structured School Program participate in classroom activities that reinforce South Carolina state science standards.

The program is offered daily mid-October through mid-May. Teachers of all subjects are invited to apply. At the close of the application process, forms are chosen at random through a lottery system. Our programs are free, but we do require all participating K-12th grade teachers to attend a three-hour training workshop (the first year they are selected) prior to bringing their class to the Aquarium.

Apply for a Program

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year. Check back for details for the 2020-21 school year.

For more information or questions, contact Education at (843) 577-FISH or email Education@scaquarium.org

Our Programs

Students participating in the Structured School Program will take part in grade-specific, standards-based classroom programs. We provide complimentary pre-visit and post-visit standards-based curriculum online. Please review the links below before your visit:

School Programs Field Trip Information
School Programs Contract

Grades K- 2 Habitats

Students will discover South Carolina habitats and what living creatures need to survive as they play a habitat matching game and meet some of the Aquarium’s live animals.
Science Standards:
K.S.1A.1, K.S.1A.8, K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.2, K.L.2A.3, K.L.2A.5, K.L.2A.6
1.S.1A.1, 1.S.1A.8, 1.E.4A.2, 1.E.4B.2, 1.L.5B.1, 1.L.58.2
2.S.1A.1, 2.S.1A.8, 2.L.5B.1, 2.L.5B.2

Grades 3-5 Communities (Food Chains and Adaptations)

Students will participate in an interactive game as well as meet some of the Aquarium’s live animals as they discuss food chains and the adaptations organisms need for survival.
Science Standards:
3.S.1A.6, 3.S.1A.8, 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2, 3.L.5B.1
4.S.1A.6, 4.S.1A.8,4.L.5B.2, 4.L.5B.3
5.S.1A.6, 5.S.1A.8, 5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2, 5.L.4B.1, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3

Grades 5-8 Watersheds

Environmental Scene Investigation (E.S.I.)! Students solve an environmental investigation. They will run tests, examine case studies and diagnose data to discover who is to blame for the watershed problems.
Science Standards:
5.S.1A.1, 5.S.1A.2, 5.S.1A.3, 5.S.1A.4, 5.S.1A.5, 5.S.1A.6, 5.S.1A.7, 5.S.1A.8, 5.S.1B.1, 5.E.3A.1, 5.E.3B.3
6.S.1A.1, 6.S.1A.2, 6.S.1A.3, 6.S.1A.4, 6.S.1A.5, 6.S.1A.6, 6.S.1A.7, 6.S.1A.8, 6.S.1B.1, 6.E.2A.3
7.S.1A.1, 7.S.1A.2, 7.S.1A.3, 7.S.1A.4, 7.S.1A.5, 7.S.1A.6, 7.S.1A.7, 7.S.1A.8, 7.S.1B.1, 7.EC.5A.3, 7.EC.5B.1, 7.EC.5B.3, 7.P.2B.3

Grades 6-8 Taxonomy

Students discover the science of classification, taxonomy, by participating in hands-on stations. They will use classification keys to identify fish, examine and touch invertebrates and try their luck at matching animal relatives.
Science Standards:
6.S.1A.8, 6.L.4A.2, 6.L.4B.1, 6.L.4B.2, 6.L.4B.3,
7.S.1A.8, 7.L.3B.1, 7.L.3B.2

Grades 6-12 Earth History

Students will uncover the mystery of a marine fossil graveyard. They will complete fossil ID, rock layers and site testing stations to figure out what, when and why the organisms died.
Science Standards:
6.S.1A.1, 6.S.1A.2, 6.S.1A.3, 6.S.1A.4, 6.S.1A.5, 6.S.1A.6, 6.S.1A.7, 6.S.1A.8, 6.S.1B.1, 6.E.5A.1, 6.L.4A.1
8.S.1A.1, 8.S.1A.2, 8.S.1A.3, 8.S.1A.4, 8.S.1A.5, 8.S.1A.6, 8.S.1A.7, 8.S.1A.8, 8.S.1B.1, 8.E.5A.1, 8.E.5A.2, 8.E.5A.5, 8.3.5B.3, 8.E.6A.1, 8.E.6A.2, 8.E.6A.3, 8.3.6A.4, 8.E.6B.2
H.E.3A.5, H.E.3A.6, H.E.3B.3, H.E.4A.3, H.E.4A.4, H.E.4A.5, H.E.6A.5
H.B.4B.2, H.B.6A.1, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6D.1

High School Human Impacts (Sea Turtles)

Sea Turtle Emergency Room! Students will participate in a mock diagnosis of two injured sea turtles by examining x-rays, sifting through fecal samples, running blood tests and doing external observations. They will discover why sea turtles strand and what they can do to help.
Science Standards:
H.B.1A.1, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A.3, H.B.1A.4, H.B.1A.5, H.B.1A.6, H.B.1A.7, H.B.1A.8, H.B.1B.1, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6D.1

High School Human Impacts (Dolphins)

Students will examine 2 stranded dolphins by doing external observations, measuring toxin levels in stomach contents and blubber, counting white blood cells and testing for respiratory infection. They will discover why dolphins strand and what they can do to help.
Science Standards:
H.B.1A.1, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A.3, H.B.1A.4, H.B.1A.5, H.B.1A.6, H.B.1A.7, H.B.1A.8, H.B.1B.1, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6D.1

Teacher Workshops

All K-12 teachers bringing a class to the Aquarium are required to attend a workshop. Teachers who have already attended a three-hour Aquarium workshop for the Structured School Program need not attend another workshop but should list their name and the year they attended the workshop on the application form. Reservations are required. For questions, reservations or more information, contact Jaime Thom at (843) 579-8562 or email jthom@scaquarium.org.

Directions to Workshops
Workshops Dates and Locations

NOAA Teacher Workshop

Saturday, December 7 | 8 AM – 4 PM | South Carolina Aquarium
Join NOAA staff at the South Carolina Aquarium to learn more about the importance of ocean exploration, current exploration technologies and recent deep-sea discoveries. This full day professional development will introduce standards-based, hands-on activities and other resources that guide classroom teaching and learning. Learn more.

South Carolina Certified Teacher Discounts

South Carolina certified K-12 teachers receive free admission and $25 off any level of regular membership. Please call (843) 577-FISH (3474) to learn more.



Don't miss the latest events, special offers and news. Learn more.


We’re located in downtown Charleston on the Harbor. Learn more.


Dive in with an Aquarium Membership. Learn more.


Plan your visit to the Aquarium today. Buy Tickets


What’s your story? Join the Watershed Campaign. Learn more.


Our community of dedicated volunteers keeps us afloat. Password protected.


Education is at the core of our mission. Plan your trip. Learn more.

Donations make a big splash.