For years we have paid a local aquarium to bring a touch tank to our school for Ocean Week. This year we decided to dive in and try our own! We purchased a 20 gallon salt water aquarium set up and ordered both the “small marine set” and “large marine set” from Carolina Biological supply. The tank was set up in the classroom of a teacher who agreed to host half hour visits from all classes during Ocean week. The students in the class acted as aquarium “guides” and created posterboard displays for five of the selected species in the tank (sea star, sea urchin, snail, hermit crab and sea cucumber). The students wore “shark visors” and went to pick up each class for their scheduled visit. The classes walked into the decorated “aquarium” through a curtain of seaweed (green table cloth cut in strips and hung by a tension rod). Each guide talked to the classes about their specific species and then allowed the children to move in small groups to touch the critters in small “show ‘n tell” bowls on the student’s desks. The visitors could ask questions and get a close look at each species. The interaction between the guides and the visitors was fantastic. The visits were fast paced and hands-on and kept the student’s attention focused on learning about the organisms. Now that our school owns the tank, we will simply have to replenish the organisms each year. The “small marine set” is as low as $25.00. Take note: we had no experience with a salt water fish tank set-up. Our amazing PTA funded the purchase of the tank. We added furniture sliders to the tank stand to allow it to be moved if necessary. So if you are looking to provide that hands-on, up close and personal visit with marine organisms, why not try your own touch tank? The chemistry of water testing is even great fun for the students to observe or participate in!