Year levels

Year 9, Year 10


See Plan Your Visit


Monday to Friday (during school term)


Africa, STEM

Use real-world conservation challenges and bring together Science and Design and Technologies to ignite a love of learning. Your students will use their creativity to help the Gorilla Doctors solve problems in the wild.

Program description

The Gorilla Doctors provide life-saving medical care to wild gorilla populations in Africa. In this program, students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to help gorillas and the vets who work to help them.

Students will explore how the Gorilla Doctors work to save gorillas in the wild and brainstorm design ideas to help support them. Back at school, they will work in small teams to prototype and test an idea, which Werribee Zoo will share with the Gorilla Doctors team. This program uses an engineering framework called Design Thinking and you don't need any special materials.

Students will learn:

  • The adaptations of gorillas and how they are classified
  • How the Gorilla Doctors use technology as part of gorilla conservation
  • STEM skills such as scientific observation and engineering
  • How to apply creative thinking and problem-solving skills to a real-world challenge

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students curiosity before their zoo visit. Read through the Design Brief with students to introduce them to the big challenge.

During your visit

Connect and Understand 

Students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of how the Gorilla Doctors help to conserve gorillas in the wild.

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.

After your visit


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


Use the Teaching Guide to bring design ideas to life and enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.

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.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Curriculum 9-10


Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (VCSSU115)

  • Students will learn real-world examples of how the Gorilla Doctors use science to design equipment to help them conserve gorillas in the wild

Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (VCSIS140)  

  • Students will present their STEM design idea and will be required to use scientific language
Design and Technologies

Apply design thinking, creativity, innovation and enterprise skills to develop, modify and communicate design ideas of increasing sophistication (VCDSCD061) 

  • Students will use Design Thinking to identify, generate, grow and test their ideas
Critical and Creative Thinking

Investigate the kind of criteria that can be used to rationally evaluate the quality of ideas and proposals, including the qualities of viability and workability (VCCCTM053)  

  • Students will use the criteria of a Design Brief to guide their thinking and will evaluate the quality of their design idea through a 'Refine and Test' process

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 Werribee Open Range Zoo via the Main 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