Geography, Gorillas and Us
Take a trip deep into the heart of Africa to discover how our obsession with electronics affects the mighty gorilla.
Discover Africa through the lens of gorillas. Learn about the diverse habitats and fauna of Africa and the threats these mighty animals face in the wild.
Gorillas and Coltan are both found in the same locations. Coltan is an important mineral used in the production of mobile phones and other electronics. As our need for Coltan increases, habitats are quickly being destroyed, leaving the gorilla critically endangered.
At Werribee Open Range Zoo, students will role-play to understand the impacts of rangers, farmers, miners and tourists in the Congo and explore the social, environmental and political issues affecting gorillas. Students will learn how to support the work of Gorilla Doctors to protect this incredible animal.
Students will learn:
- The unique qualities of African animals and how they are adapted for their environments
- To understand how the demand for technology is driving Coltan mining in the Congo
- An understanding of the demographic, economic, social and cultural influences impacting gorilla numbers
- How we, here in Australia, can support communities and gorillas in Africa
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.
Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity before their zoo visit.
Connect and Understand
During your Zoo Teacher workshop, students will participate in a discussion about African wildlife, particularly gorillas, and the challenges they face. Be immersed amongst animals and habitat as you explore the trails of Werribee Open Range Zoo. Students will learn about Zoos Victoria’s mission to fight extinction, how the zoo works with African communities to protect wildlife and how students can help too.
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.
Use activities in the Teaching Guide to deepen students’ learning back at school. Engage students to communicate their ideas and findings on the factors that are threatening gorillas in the wild.
Use the Teaching Guide to enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. Students may feel empowered to take on the 'They’re Calling on You' community conservation campaign back at school to help gorillas in the wild to thrive.
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.
Victorian Curriculum 7-8
Human causes of landscape degradation, the effects on landscape quality and the implications for places (VCGGK119)
- Students will explore how the demand for farming and technology is affecting the landscape in the Congo, causing habitat loss and threatening the survival of gorillas in the wild
Identify, analyse and explain interconnections within places and between places and identify and explain changes resulting from these interconnections (VCGGC101)
- Through walking in the shoes of another, students will consider what life is like for children miners, rangers, farmers and tourists in the Congo, and how their lives affect the survival of each other, the environment and the wildlife, especially gorillas in the wild
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 explore how the demand for technology is driving Coltan mining in the Congo, causing habitat loss for gorillas in the wild, and how phone recycling can be a solution to this issue
Communicate ideas, findings and solutions to problems including identifying impacts and limitations of conclusions and using appropriate scientific language and representations (VCSIS113)
- By walking in the shoes of another, students will consider what life is like for children miners, rangers, farmers and tourists in the Congo and how we here in Australia can support communities and gorillas in Africa through recycling mobile phones
Investigate why ethical principles may differ between people and groups, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU015)
- Through participating in a role play activity, students will consider what life is like for children miners, rangers, farmers and tourists in the Congo and how we here in Australia can support communities and gorillas in Africa through recycling mobile phones
Plan your excursion
Geography, Gorillas and Us is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection.
School groups will enter Werribee Open Range Zoo via the Main 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 experienceRequest 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