STEM for Zoo Animals
Students will apply their STEM knowledge, creativity and problem-solving skills to support the welfare of animals at Melbourne Zoo.
In this program, Year 7-8 students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to design enrichment for zoo animals. The mental and physical wellbeing of animals is of the highest importance to the keepers at Melbourne Zoo. They need new enrichment ideas that will enable animals to use their senses, move their bodies and behave in natural ways.
During your visit to Melbourne Zoo, your students will undertake research. They will hear behind-the-scenes stories and learn more about animal they will be designing for. Back at school, students will work in small teams to build a prototype and test an idea. You don't need any special materials and students will be able to share their designs with zoo keepers.
Students will learn:
- Zoo animal adaptations and classification
- How keepers use STEM to help animals survive in their habitat
- STEM skills such as scientific observation and engineering
- Creative thinking and problem-solving skills
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.
Connect and Understand
Students will use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of animals and their care at Melbourne Zoo.
Your zoo visit will include: Introduction (for arrivals between 9:40am – 10am), Zoo Teacher workshop (30 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.
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 time/s. Each workshop time has its own map and suggested daily itinerary. Digital maps will be provided to you on the day.
Victorian Curriculum 7-8
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 (VCSSU089)
- Students will learn how animal welfare codes drive the science and technology used by Keepers at the Zoo
There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)
- Students will practice grouping animals based on their similarities and differences
Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD050)
- Students will use Design Thinking to generate, grow and test their ideas for animal enrichment
Consider how problems can be segmented into discrete stages, new knowledge synthesised during problem-solving and criteria used to assess emerging ideas and proposals (VCCCTM042)
- Students will learn how to use each stage of Design Thinking to synthesise their thinking and develop their own creative solutions – Understand, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Refine
Plan your excursion
STEM for Zoo Animals 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 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