Year levels



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Monday to Friday (during school term)

What factors influence the behaviour of visitors at the zoo? Students consider aspects of social cognition and factors that influence behaviour and how they are relevant in a conservation organisation.

Program description

VCE Psychology Unit 2

Psychology students explore Unit 2 key concepts in the real-world context of a zoo. In this unique setting, students can explore how social cognition influences individuals to behave in certain ways and factors that influence conservation based behaviours.

Students will learn: 

  • The relevance of attitudes, attributions and stereotypes in processing information and decision-making
  • Cognitive biases and how an understanding of cognitive dissonance is important when designing conservation campaigns
  • The positive and negative influences of heuristics when making decisions and problem solving
  • To develop an awareness of social groups, obedience and conformity influencing behaviour through real-world application
  • To consider classical and contemporary research relevant to a zoo  

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 a close look at Zoos Victoria’s Safe Cats, Safe Wildlife campaign and the attitudes and biases that influence the opinion of individuals in the community. Students discuss the relevance of heuristics, stereotypes, obedience, conformity and cognitive dissonance, when designing a conservation campaign and influencing the behaviour of zoo visitors.

Your zoo visit will include: A welcome to the day (for arrivals between 9.40am to 10am), Zoo Teacher workshop (80 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 help students extend and reflect on their learning back at school.


Use the Teaching Guide to enable students to continue their analysis of the Safe Cats, Safe Wildlife campaign 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?

  • Students explore the role of social cognition and the factors that influence individual and group behaviour through the analysis of one of Zoos Victoria's community conservation projects and an animal experience


Plan your excursion 

This program 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. 


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