Ethics, Zoos and You: Research Method

Year levels



See Plan Your Visit


Monday to Friday (during school term)

Investigate how Zoos Victoria employs VCE Psychology key science skills to optimise the welfare of captive animals and complete a scientific investigation into captive animal research methods.

Program description

VCE Psychology Units 1-4 Key Science Skills

Deep-dive into how psychology concepts can help you to promote pro-conservation behaviour change in a real-world context. Ethics, Zoos and You: Research Methodexplores 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

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 

Students take on the role of Zoo’s Victoria’s Animal Ethics Committee to debate a current ethical dilemma. Students plan and research an investigation question, formulate a hypothesis, collect and record qualitative and quantitative data in an observational study and analyse and evaluate data with the support of a Zoo Teacher.  Students will have the opportunity to present their findings in school-assessed coursework in class. 

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 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 

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

Units 1–4: Key science skills

Plan and undertake investigations

  • Students will determine aims, formulate hypotheses, and identify variables

Comply with safety and ethical guidelines

  • Students will understand role of ethics committees and application of ethical principles

Conduct investigations to collect and record data

  • Students will do an observational study of a sample population with qualitative and quantitative data collection, independent and collaborative work, and have access to secondary data

Analyse and evaluate data, methods and scientific models

  • Back at school students will have the opportunity to organise, present and interpret data, evaluate investigative procedure and possible sources of bias, and make inferences and suggestions regarding the population and data in school assessed coursework

Draw evidence-based conclusions

  • Students make conclusions and recommendations, consider limitations and implications

Communicate and explain scientific ideas

  • Students discuss relevant psychological information, using correct terminology, and will have the opportunity to present information back at school in school-assessed coursework

Plan your excursion 

Ethics, Zoos and You: Research Method is 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