Year levels

VCE

Cost

$20 per student

Availability

Monday to Friday (during school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 5 students (recommended)

Analyse and compare living primates to reveal humans’ closest living and extinct relatives, evolutionary trends and what it means to be classified as Homo sapiens.

Program description

VCE Biology Unit 4

Through collection of observational data and analysis of fossils, anatomy and DNA, students will determinthe evolutionary trends that led from primates to humans.  

Students will get hands-on with primate biofacts obtained from the past and present to identify and analyse adaptations and determine the phylogeny of species. DNA sequence comparisons will be utilised to further analyse species relatedness and draw phylogenetic trees. They will gather data to compare a range of primates, which can be used as part of school-based assessment for VCE Biology Unit 4. 

Students will learn: 

  • The anatomical and behavioural characteristics of primates, hominoids and hominins 
  • The processes that underpin speciation of primates and humans 
  • Construction and use of phylogenetic trees to identify relatedness of species 
  • How to collect and analyse behavioural observation data 

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

Connect   

Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to inform and prepare students before their zoo visit. 

During your visit

Connect and Understand 

Students will draw on their analysis of anatomical, molecular and behavioural evidence, in combination with their understanding of evolutionary processes. They will identify evolutionary trends, describe relatedness of species and build a phylogenetic tree to model human evolution.

Your zoo visit will include: 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

Understand 

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

Act 

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) – Biology

Unit 4: How does life change and respond to challenges?

Area of Study 2: How are species related over time?

  • Students will use comparative anatomy, behaviour observations and DNA of living and once living primates to explore changes in the genetic make-up of a population, changes in biodiversity over time, determine relatedness between species and human change over time

Area of Study 3: How is scientific enquiry used to investigate biological change?

  • Students will carry out behavioural observations and compare primary and secondary data to understand the trends in primate and human change over time that can be used as part of the school-based assessment

Plan your excursion 

Primate Evolution 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