STEM for Zoo Habitat Design
This program combines Science with Design and Technologies to unleash student innovation. Your students will design enrichment for hippos and learn about animal welfare.
Werribee Open Range Zoo is always dreaming up new ways to care for animals, both at the zoo and in the wild. In this program, Year 7-8 students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to help the zoo solve a big challenge, "Zoo keepers need new enrichment ideas for lions and hippopotamuses".
Your students will conduct research to deepen their understanding. They will work in teams to brainstorm ideas for one animal and choose an idea to prototype and test. This program uses an engineering framework called Design Thinking and you don't need any special materials.
Students will learn:
- The differences, similarities and classification of African animals
- 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
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. Read through the Design Brief with students to introduce them to the big challenge.
Connect and Understand
Students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of African animals, zoo habitats and enrichment.
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.
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.
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 (VCSSU090)
- Students will learn real-world examples of how Werribee Open Range Zoo uses science to design zoo habitats and animal enrichment
There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)
- Students will learn about the classification of lions and hippopotamuses
Generate, develop and test design ideas, plans and processes using appropriate technical terms and technologies, including graphical representation techniques (VCDSD050)
- Students will use Design Thinking to identify, generate, grow and test their ideas
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 seek out problems and synthesise their thinking to develop their own creative solutions
Plan your excursion
STEM for Zoo Habitat Design 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.
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.
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