Sustaining Life in the Grasslands

Year levels



$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students



Explore the science of adaptations and the relationships between species in an ecosystem through the real-world example of a Zoos Victoria conservation program.

Program description

In Sustaining life in the Grasslands, students apply skills from field science and the observation of a native species to build their understanding of animal adaptations and explore the relationships that exist within ecosystems.

Students will learn:

  • How structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations enhance an organism’s ability to survive
  • What strategies are used in the real world at Zoos Victoria to manage biodiversity and support the conservation of species
  • Examples of the relationships between species including, amensalism, commensalism, mutualism, parasitism and predation
  • About the interdependencies between species including the impact of changes on keystone species
  • How to conduct a practical investigation into the survival of a species in a zoo habitat

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity before their zoo visit.

During your visit

Connect and Understand

Explore Werribee Open Range Zoo as students gain an insight into how these skills are applied in the real-world by learning how Zoos Victoria undertake research to help fight extinction. Students will collect data as part of a practical investigation into the survival of a species and will be asked to use the data they collect in the field to determine if a proposed release site is capable of meeting its needs. This data will be shared online to add to the existing body of knowledge.

Your zoo visit will include:  Introduction (for arrivals between 9:45am – 10:00am), Zoo Teacher workshop (70 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 enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.

Program map 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.


Program resources

VCE teaching guides are password protected. You will receive the password via email six and two weeks before your excursion. You can also request the password upon booking.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) – Biology

Unit 1: How do living things stay alive?

Area of study 2:  How do living systems sustain life?

  • Students will observe an Australian animal and discuss structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations that enhance an organisms survival
  • Hear about how Zoos Victoria are exploring new strategies for managing biodiversity to support the conservation of species
  • Observe an Australian zoo habitat and discuss biotic factors and interactions
  • Students will participate in an activity exploring the impact of one keystone species in the grassland ecosystem
  • Students will undertake data collection to help inform the suitability of a zoo habitat for the release of an endangered species

Area of study 3: Practical Investigation

  • Students will conduct a practical investigation into the survival of a species in a zoo habitat

Plan your excursion 

Sustaining Life in the Grasslands 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 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