Ethics, Zoos and You: Behaviour Change

Year levels



See Plan Your Visit


Monday to Friday (during school term)

What are the ethics of keeping animals in captivity? Bring a real-world understanding to key VCE Psychology skills by investigating the ethics of captive animals and exploring how Psychology principles are used to encourage pro-conservation behaviour change in a real-world setting.

Program description

VCE Psychology Unit 2

Deep-dive into how psychology concepts can help you to promote pro-conservation behaviour change in a real-world context. Ethics, Zoos and You: Behaviour Change explores science as a human endeavour and provides insights into how psychology skills and knowledge are used in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. 

Students will learn: 

  • How to apply and understand ethical principles 
  • How to communicate scientific ideas 
  • An understanding of scientific process and assess the strengths and limitations of science 
  • Build an awareness of the ethical, social and political contexts of scientific endeavours 
  • Develop their analytical skills including critical and creative thinking 
  • Analyse contemporary psychology-related issues 

Can’t make it to one of our zoos? Our Digital Program gives you direct access to your own expert Zoo Teacher and unique zoo content. Location is no longer a barrier.

Program sequence

Before your visit

Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity and prepare them for their zoo visit.

During your visit

Students take on the role of Zoo’s Victoria’s Animal Ethics Committee to debate a current ethical dilemma. In addition, students will apply key knowledge in Unit 2 by exploring how Zoos Victoria applies the tri-component model to influence and shape visitor behaviour. 

Your zoo visit will include:  Zoo Teacher workshop (85 minutes), fieldwork and observation opportunities 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 help students extend and reflect on their learning back at school.

Program maps 

Your booking confirmation email will list your group's education workshop time/s. Digital maps will be provided to you on the day.

Program resources

VCE teaching guides are password protected. You will receive the password via email before your excursion. You can also request the password upon booking.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) – Psychology

Unit 2: How do external factors influence behaviour and mental processes?

Area of Study 2: How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?

  • Through the analysis of one of Zoos Victoria's community conservation projects, students will explore how Zoos Victoria applies the tri-component model to influence and shape the behaviour of our visitors


Unit 1-4: Key science skill

Key science skill: Comply with safety and ethical guidelines

  • Through discussion and role-play, students will consider contemporary ethical dilemmas surrounding animal welfare and develop their understanding of ethical principles and the role of ethics committees.


Plan your excursion 

Ethics, Zoos and You: Behaviour Changeis an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection.

Bring what students need to record their research e.g. notes, drawings, photographs, videos, voice memos, diagrams.  

School groups will enter Melbourne Zoo via the Rail Gate entrance. Organising teachers please check in with our Admissions team upon arrival. More Information. 

All onsite excursion bookings are subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and as such are subject to change in line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s advice. We will be in contact with all teachers prior to their booked date if we need to clarify any new requirements. See the COVID-Safe information for schools before your visit.


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