Close up face view of a Rothschild Giraffe. He is looking towards the camera with a green background.

Caring for Animals

Year levels

Year 3 & Year 4


$19 per student


Monday to Friday Terms 1 and 2 2020

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students


Animal Welfare, STEM

For a limited time only, Year 3-4 students will grow their STEM skills and knowledge by designing solutions for Zoo animals. This Project Based Learning program is part of the STEM Design Challenge 2020 (Terms 1 and 2).

Introducing Melbourne Zoo's STEM Design Challenge 2020: Caring for Animals.

Melbourne Zoo goes to great lengths to care for the mental and physical wellbeing of its animals. Zoo keepers use enrichment – activities and enclosure designs that enable animals to use their senses, move their bodies and behave in natural ways.

Melbourne Zoo has two big enrichment STEM challenges for your students to solve in Terms 1 and 2:

  1. Keepers need a variety of enrichment ideas to care for giraffes
  2. Keepers need a variety of enrichment ideas to care for lions

When you visit Melbourne Zoo, a STEM educator will share behind-the-scenes stories and existing enrichment ideas for the giraffes and lions. They will also help students develop their scientific observation skills. Your students will also conduct their own Zoo research and start to brainstorm ideas.

Back at school, students will work in teams of up to six people and choose one of the big enrichment challenges to focus on. The Teaching Guide will help you teach using an engineering framework called Design Thinking. Design Thinking helps teams quickly translate their ideas into prototypes and bring their ideas to life.

Students will:

  • Learn about Zoo animals and the work of keepers
  • Develop STEM skills such as scientific observation and Design Thinking
  • Express their ideas through Project Based Learning
  • Enhance their creative thinking skills
  • Join a group of young Victorians who are solving complex conservation problems

You don’t need a STEM lab or special materials to teach this fun and innovative challenge. Some teachers use this program to teach a whole-term unit while others use it as a special 2-3 week program. The choice is yours!

After completing their prototypes, students can also enter the STEM Design challenge competition. Entries close on Friday 19 June 2020. Learn more about prizes, assessment criteria and how to submit entries.

Activity Duration
Welcome and introduction to your day 15 minutes
Session with a STEM educator  40 minutes
Keeper presentations 30 minutes
Zoo research 2-3 hours


Program resources

Learning outcomes


Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)

  • Students will learn about how use science skills to design enrichment features or activities for Zoo animals

Different living things have different life cycles and depend on each other and the environment to survive (VCSSU058)

  • Students will learn about animal behaviour and how they survive in captive and wild habitats
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD029)

  • Students will use Design Thinking to generate, grow and test their ideas for animal conservation

Make models of three-dimensional objects and describe key features (VCMMG142)

  • Back in the classroom, students will demonstrate their solutions through 3D prototypes

Critical and Creative Thinking

Investigate a range of problem-solving strategies, including brainstorming, identifying, comparing and selecting options, and developing and testing hypotheses (VCCCTM020)

  • Students will learn how to use each stage of Design Thinking to develop their own creative solutions – Understand, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Refine

Plan your excursion 

Bring what students need to record their research e.g. written notes, drawings, photographs, voice memos, short videos, diagrams. They will also need to dress for the weather.

The organising teacher should make themselves known to Admission Staff via the Members Express Lane to arrange payment. 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