Student looking at an illuminated xray image of an animal.

Big Picture Biology

Year levels



$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term) | Only available until the end of Term 4 2019

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students

Give your students that lightbulb moment by highlighting how the concepts and skills they’re learning in the classroom are applied in the real-world.

Program Description

What do we need to know about an endangered animal in order to save it? Big Picture Biology demonstrates how students can apply the principles and skills of VCE Biology in a real-world setting.

We need to understand a lot about animals in order to save them from extinction. Through workshops run by experienced zoo-based educators and student-led enquiry, students will investigate four endangered species – the Southern Corroboree Frog, Asian Elephant, Helmeted Honeyeater and Philippines Crocodile – to understand what it takes to ensure their survival.

Discover how Zoos Victoria use methods such as behavioural observations, population modelling, data interpretation and record keeping to better understand and protect endangered species.

Big Picture Biology shows students how the principles they’re learning in the classroom are applied in a real-life context to bring endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

Students will learn:

  • How to apply what they’re learning to a real world context
  • The scope of skills needed to protect an endangered species
  • About the global amphibian crisis, from the cellular level through to the flow on effect on ecosystems
  • Captive breeding techniques for the four case study species
  • The processes and challenges of releasing captive bred animals in the wild
Activity Duration
Workshop with Melbourne Zoo teacher – what do we need to know about an endangered animal in order to save it?
45 minutes
Workshop with Melbourne Zoo teacher – conservation of Asian Elephants, including the opportunity to observe these species and ask questions 45 minutes
Student-led Elephant Behaviour observation 10 minutes
Student-led World of Frogs visit 20 minutes
Student-led Honeyeater aviary visit
20 minutes
Explore the Zoo – visit animal exhibits, attend educational keeper talks  1 – 2 hours

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) - Biology

Unit 1: How do living things stay alive?


Area of study 1: How do organisms function?

  • Students will explore how the fungus chytrid interacts with amphibian skin cells

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

  • Students will consider the interdependencies which exist between the four case study species and the organisms in their ecosystem and their habitat, as well as what happens when these are thrown out of balance

Area of study 3: Practical investigation

  • Students will take part in an observational study of captive Asian Elephant behaviour


Unit 2: How is continuity of life maintained?

Area of study 1: How does reproduction maintain the continuity of life?

  • Students will take part in an in depth discussion of the process of artificial insemination for the Zoo’s international captive breeding program for the  Asian Elephant


Plan your excursion 

Big Picture Biology is only available until the end of Term 4 2019. 

Big Picture Biology is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Students will need a copy of the student workbook (download from below), their Biology log book, clipboard and a pen.

School groups will enter via Rail Gate. The organising teacher must present their booking confirmation to Admission staff prior to students and remaining teachers entering the Zoo. More information

Book your excursion

Call (03) 9340 2788

You will need the following to book your excursion:

  • Education program of your choice
  • Preferred excursion date
  • School name and address
  • Contact details of organising teacher
  • Number of students/classes and their year level