A Zoo Teacher holds a replica of a primate skull. Three secondary students stand around her examining the artifact.

Classification and Adaptations Year 7-8

Year levels

Year 7, Year 8


See Plan Your Visit


Monday to Friday (during school term)


Adaptations, Classification, Endangered Species, Food Chains / Webs, Human Impact

In the wild it’s a case of eat, or be eaten. Animals are specially adapted to digest their favourite food and avoid being eaten themselves.

Program description

In this program, you’ll learn to identify what (or who) is for dinner in each animal’s life.

Animals are adapted to obtain and digest food and help them avoid being eaten themselves. By looking at the unique characteristics of African animals, students will understand food webs by classifying animals based on their diet.

A safari tour helps students to understand this eco-system in a broader context and the remarkable interactions and interdependencies that occur in grasslands all over the world, from Africa to our own backyard.

Students will learn:

  • How organisms can be classified based on their adaptations to obtain and digest food
  • Discover diverse species that have developed a range of adaptations to help them survive in an ecosystem
  • Investigate the impacts on ecosystems when a species is introduced or removed and how we can reduce impact

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity before their zoo visit.

During your visit

Connect and Understand

During your Zoo Teacher workshop, students investigate living animals and analyse skulls to classify species based on their structural adaptions for obtaining and digesting food, and to avoid becoming prey. By analysing this food web, students will understand the impact if a species is lost. This understanding highlights the importance of healthy ecosystems and the need for conservation programs in a real-world context at Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Your zoo visit will include:  Introduction (for arrivals between 9:45am – 10:00am), Zoo Teacher workshop (30 minutes), Safari Bus Tour (40 minutes) and keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at the zoo.

After your visit


Use activities in the Teaching Guide to deepen students’ learning back at school. 


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

Program maps and itineraries

Your booking confirmation email will list your group's education workshop/s and safari bus tour time. Each workshop time has its own map and daily itinerary. Paper maps will be provided to you on the day.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Curriculum 7-8


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

  • Students will discover through observation of species and skull analysis how organisms can be classified based on their adaptations to obtain and digest food

Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity (VCSSU093)

  • Students will create a food web representative of the African Savanna and determine the impacts on this ecosystem when other species are introduced to the mix

 Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to identify relationships, evaluate claims and draw conclusions (VCSIS111)

  • From investigations about animal adaptations, students will apply their skills to draw conclusions about animal diet and the interactions they have with their environment during a skull analysis activity

Plan your excursion 

Eat or be Eaten is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection.

The organising teacher should make themselves known to Admission Staff prior to entering the Zoo so that payment can be made. More information.

Book your education experience

Fill out an online form to request a booking for your zoo education experience

Request booking now

You will need to know the following to book your zoo excursion or online workshop:

  • Education program of your choice (if applicable)
  • Preferred date
  • School name and address
  • Contact details of organising teacher
  • Number of students/classes and their year level