Close up face view of a Rothschild Giraffe. It is looking towards the left with its mouth open and a green background.

Caring for Animals

Year levels

Year 7 & Year 8


$19 per student


Monday to Friday Terms 1 and 2 2020

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students



For a limited time only, your students will use their STEM knowledge and skills to help Zoo keepers solve real-world challenges. This limited time only 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 how Melbourne Zoo maintains high-quality animal welfare standards
  • Discover how keepers use enrichment to care for animals
  • Apply their STEM skills and understanding through Project Based Learning
  • Use Design Thinking to generate, produce and test their solutions
  • Develop their creative thinking and growth mindset

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. Read about prizes, assessment criteria and how to submit entries

Activity Duration
Welcome and introduction to your day (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


Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (VCSSU089)

  • Students will learn how animal welfare codes drive the science and technology used by Keepers at the Zoo

There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (VCSSU091)

  • Students will practice grouping animals based on their similarities and differences
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop and test design ideas, plans and processes using appropriate technical terms and technologies including graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD050)

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

Consider how problems can be segmented into discrete stages, new knowledge synthesised during problem-solving and criteria used to assess emerging ideas and proposals (VCCCTM042)

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

Personal and Social Capability (optional)

Perform in a variety of team roles and accept responsibility as a team member and team leader, assessing how well they support other members of the team (VCPSCSO041)

  • Back in the classroom, students will be working in groups of up to 6 people and will be expected to collaborate during the Design Thinking process

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