Digital Program | STEM for Zoo Habitat Design

Year levels

Year 5, Year 6, Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10


$180 per class of 30 students


Online workshop: Wednesday and Thursday

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 30 students


Animal Welfare, Ecosystems / Habitats, STEM

Boost your STEM curriculum by focusing on real-life STEM scenarios. Your students will use their creativity to design hippo enrichment, which incorporates animal welfare.

Program description

Each program includes a 30-minute online workshop with a Zoo Teacher and a teaching guide filled with activities for your scope and sequence. While not a tour of the zoo, you will have direct access to your own expert Zoo Teacher and unique zoo content.

Werribee Open Range Zoo is always dreaming up new ways to care for animals, both at the zoo and in the wild. In this program, students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to help the zoo solve a big challenge, "Zoo keepers need new enrichment ideas for lions and hippopotamuses".

Your students will conduct research to deepen their understanding. They will work in teams to brainstorm ideas for one animal and choose an idea to prototype and test. This program uses an engineering framework called Design Thinking and you don't need any special materials.

Students will learn:

  • African animal features and adaptations
  • How keepers use STEM to help animals survive in their habitat
  • STEM skills such as scientific observation and engineering
  • Creative thinking and problem-solving skills

Want to come face-to-face with our incredible wildlife and extend your students' learning in their environment? Book in an excursion to one of our three amazing zoos.

Program sequence

Before your online workshop


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide and Workbook (below) to spark students curiosity before their online workshop. Read through the Design Brief with students to introduce them to the big challenge.

During your online workshop

Connect and Understand 

Students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of African animals, zoo habitats and enrichment.

After your online workshop


Use activities in the Teaching Guide and Workbook to deepen students’ learning.


Use the Teaching Guide to bring design ideas to life and enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Curriculum 5-6 


Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)

  • Students will learn about how the features and adaptations of African animals enable them to survive in their zoo habitat 

The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)

  • Students will learn how keepers use habitat design and enrichment to help the growth and survival of zoo animals
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop, communicate and document design ideas and processes for audiences using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD039)

  • Students will use the process of Design Thinking to identify, generate, grow and test their ideas 
Critical and Creative Thinking

Investigate how ideas and problems can be disaggregated into smaller elements or ideas, how criteria can be used to identify gaps in existing knowledge, and assess and test ideas and proposals (VCCCTM031) 

  • Students will develop their creative thinking skills through research, brainstorming and prototyping their solutions

Victorian Curriculum 7-8 


Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (VCSSU090)

  • Students will learn real-world examples of how Werribee Open Range Zoo uses science to design zoo habitats and animal enrichment 

There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)

  • Students will learn about the classification of lions and hippopotamuses
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop and test design ideas, plans and processes using appropriate technical terms and technologies, including graphical representation techniques (VCDSD050) 

  • Students will use Design Thinking to identify, generate, grow and test their ideas
Critical and Creative Thinking

Consider how problems can be segmented into discrete stages, new knowledge synthesised during problem-solving and criteria used to assess emerging ideas and proposals (VCCCTM042) 

  • Students will seek out problems and synthesise their thinking to develop their own creative solutions 

Victorian Curriculum 9-10


Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (VCSSU115)

  • Students will learn real-world examples of how Werribee Open Range Zoo uses science to design zoo habitats and animal enrichment 

Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (VCSIS140)  

  • Students will present their STEM design idea and will be required to use scientific language
Design and Technologies

Apply design thinking, creativity, innovation and enterprise skills to develop, modify and communicate design ideas of increasing sophistication (VCDSCD061) 

  • Students will use Design Thinking to identify, generate, grow and test their ideas 
Critical and Creative Thinking

Investigate the kind of criteria that can be used to rationally evaluate the quality of ideas and proposals, including the qualities of viability and workability (VCCCTM053)  

  • Students will use the criteria of a Design Brief to guide their thinking and will evaluate the quality of their design idea through a 'Refine and Test' process 

Online workshop details

Your online workshop will be hosted on Zoom.   

All you need is a computer or device with internet access.

During the exclusive online workshop for your class, you will be able use the camera and microphone functions.  

Students can also communicate with a Werribee Open Range Zoo Teacher by typing in the Chat  box.  

We will send out a link to join the program to the teacher that booked.

Join us ten minutes before your start time. Arriving early will enable us to check any tech issues and start your session on time. 

Book now

Call 1300 966 784 to book an online workshop.   

Credit card payment at time of booking. Cancellation must be made at least 10 business days prior to your booked workshop. If not, a cancellation fee of $180 will be invoiced.