STEM for Zoo Habitat Design
Use real-world zoo challenges to ignite a love of learning Science with Design and Technologies. Your students will design enrichment for hippos, incorporating communication 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. Year 9-10 students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to help Werribee Open Range Zoo solve the big challenge, "Zoo keepers need new enrichment ideas for lions and hippopotamuses".
While at the zoo, your students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding. Back at school, they will work in teams to bring their ideas to life. You don’t need a STEM lab or special materials to teach this innovative program.
Students will learn:
- The features, adaptations and classification of African animals
- How zoo keepers use advances in STEM as part of animal welfare
- 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 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 Werribee Open Range Zoo uses science to design zoo habitats and animal enrichment
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
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
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
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