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  Grade Level 4

Standards-aligned experiences for your class! Reservations are required.

  • Museum reservations taken Monday through Friday from 1:00–5:00 PM at 805-682-4711 ext. 108.
  • Sea Center reservations taken Monday–Friday, 9:00AM–5:00 PM, at 805-962-2526 ext. 108.
  • Interactive TourSpecimens Kids
    (Tuesday–Friday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) Group size: maximum 80 students per hour. May be combined with a Discovery Lab or Outdoor Nature Exploration.

    These tours provide open-ended opportunities for discovery in small groups with chaperones.  Students explore the Museum, visiting exhibit halls that focus on regional natural history, including birds, insects, mammals, marine life, paleontology, geology, and Chumash Indians. In various halls, Exploration Stations with Museum docents offer hands-on opportunities for close observation.  

    Tours go to most of the Museum’s halls. Clipboards and other student supplies are not allowed on these tours; please see “Mondays My Way” for that option or to focus on one or more halls
  • Discovery Lab
    (Tuesday–Friday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) Group size: maximum one class. May be combined with an Interactive Tour or Outdoor Nature Exploration.

Whale of a Tale: Ocean Ecosystem Investigations
In this hands-on exploration set beside our Blue Whale skeleton, students learn to ask meaningful questions about the sources of matter and energy in food chains through investigation of a portion of the open ocean exosystem. They measiure and estimate the weight, length, and volume of parts of our Blue Whale skeleton and organisms within its food chain. Graphs are constructed and interpreted from these measurements to better understand the nature of food webs.

  • Outdoor Nature Explorations
    (Tuesday–Friday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) Group size: maximum one class. May be combined with an Interactive Tour or Discovery Lab.

Ecosystem Investigations
Students use investigative equipment to explore the various ecosystems available at the Museum: chaparral, oak woodland, and riparian. They look for plants and animals along Mission Creek and dig under compost to discover decomposers in the soil. Focus is on the characteristics of unique habitats, food chains, and the important role of decomposers in an ecosystem. This experience offers the freedom to explore in a natural setting and make one’s own discoveries.

  • Mondays My Way
    (Monday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) Group size: maximum 80 students per hour.

    This is an opportunity for teachers to conduct investigations in the exhibit halls with their own classes. Teacher-prepared scavenger hunts, single hall studies, and special topic focus are some of the possibilities. Monday is the only week day that clipboards are allowed in the Museum.


  • Interactive Tour
    (Monday–Friday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) Group size: maximum 80 students. May be combined with a Discovery Lab and/or an Outdoor Nature Exploration.

    Interactive Tours give students the chance to observe, touch, and explore Santa Barbara's marine life in small groups. Trained docents guide engaging, interactive experiences with sharks and rays, tide pool animals, marine mammals, oceanography equipment, and live jellies. Each tour meets grade level content standards and Education and Environment principles.
  • Discovery Lab (in the Sea Center)
    (Monday-Friday, 9:00–10:00 AM) May be combined with an Interactive Tour and/or an Outdoor Nature Exploration.

Ocean Food Chains
Through hands-on inquiry, students discover the links and hierarchy of several ocean food chains. They retrieve samples of plankton from the ocean using scientific equipment. Microscopes and microviewers are used to identify producers and consumers among the specimens. Students also observe several animals feeding, including sea urchins, sea stars, and crabs. By the end of the discovery lab, students are able to categorize and compare producers with herbivores and carnivores in the ocean ecosystem.

  • Outdoor Nature Explorations (on East Beach)
    (Monday-Friday, 10:00–11:00 AM; 11:00 AM–Noon) May be combined with an Interactive Tour and/or a Discovery Lab.

Shifting Sands
Students examine and describe sand samples from East Beach. They carefully investigate local rocks, shells, plant and animal remnants, and other found objects for clues about the sand's origin. After comparing local sand to sand from other regions, students draw conclusions about the composition and relative age of the samples. Students also observe and conduct experiments with water and sand to determine the effect of waves and wind on the shape of the beach.


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