Zuberi the lion laying on the grass in the shade.

Caring for Animals

Year levels

Year 5 & Year 6


$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 5-6 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 the adaptations and features of Zoo animals
  • 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.

After completing their prototypes, students can also enter the STEM Design challenge competition. Entries close on Friday 15 November 2019.

Activity Duration
Welcome and introduction to your day (arrivals between 9.40am - 10am)  15 minutes
Session with a STEM educator  40 minutes
Keeper presentations 30 minutes
Zoo research 2 - 3 hours


Program resources

Learning outcomes


Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)

  • Students will learn about how to design enrichment for Zoo animals based on their features, and adaptations, species needs

The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)

  • Students will learn about what keepers place in an animal enclosure to help them thrive in captivity
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD039)

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

Connect three-dimensional objects with their nets and other two-dimensional representations (VCMMG198)

  • Back in the classroom, students will demonstrate their solutions through 2D plans and 3D prototypes and shapes

Critical and Creative Thinking

Investigate how ideas and problems can be disaggregated into smaller elements or ideas, how criteria can be used to identify gaps in existing knowledge, and assess and test ideas and proposals (VCCCTM031)

  • 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