NEWPORT, Ky. -- The Newport Aquarium's WAVE Foundation is working to boost student test scores by bringing sharks into classrooms.
The foundation has been bringing the sea to children who have never been there by rolling aquariums into more than 300 schools this year. The aquariums have traveled more than three hours and visited some of the poorest counties in the country.
"So these kids who have never left the county get a chance to see and peek under the surface of the ocean," said Scott Wingate, the executive director of the WAVE Foundation.
The hands-on program has earned them national recognition with a "top honors" award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for creatively teaching science.
According to WAVE, their program is especially important now because standardized testing is causing schools to focus disproportionately on reading and writing.
"It's a transformative moment for the classroom and the students," Wingate said.
Employees at the aquarium come to work and see the wonders of the sea. Now it's their mission to pass it on.
"When you bring a live animal, kids get excited," Wingate said. "They're asking questions. They want to know more. They're learning and, sometimes, they don't even realize it."