Ethics, Zoos and You: Research Method

Year levels



$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students

Investigate how Zoos Victoria employs VCE Psychology key science skills to optimise the welfare of captive animals and complete a scientific investigation into captive animal research methods.

Program Description

Deep-dive into how psychology concepts can help you to promote pro-conservation behaviour change in a real-world context. Ethics, Zoos and You: Research Method explores science as a human endeavour and provides insights into how psychology skills and knowledge are used in animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Students take on the role of Zoo’s Victoria’s Animal Ethics Committee to debate a current ethical dilemma. Students plan and research an investigation question, formulate a hypothesis, collect and record qualitative and quantitative data in an observational study and analyse and evaluate data with the support of a Zoo Teacher.  Students will have the opportunity to present their findings in school-assessed coursework in class.

Students will learn:

  • How to apply and understand ethical principles
  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data and analysis including case studies
  • Communicate scientific ideas
  • Gain an understanding of scientific process and assess the strengths and limitations of science
  • Build an awareness of the ethical, social and political contexts of scientific endeavours
  • Develop their analytical skills including critical and creative thinking
  • Analyse contemporary psychology-related issues
Activity Duration

Workshop with Melbourne Zoo teacher

  • A Zoo educator will introduce students to ethics at the Zoo and the ways we use psychology skills and knowledge in animal welfare and wildlife conservation
  • A Zoo educator will facilitate a workshop at the Orang-utan Sanctuary
85 minutes

Student-led inquiry

  • An opportunity for teachers to facilitate further investigation into the Ethics, Zoo and You, independently of Zoo educators

Explore the Zoo 

  • Visit animal exhibits, attend educational keeper talks
 1 – 2 hours

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) – Psychology

Units 1–4: Key science skills


Plan and undertake investigations

  • Students will determine aims, formulate hypotheses, and identify variables

Comply with safety and ethical guidelines

  • Students will understand role of ethics committees and application of ethical principles

Conduct investigations to collect and record data

  • Students will do an observational study of a sample population with qualitative and quantitative data collection, independent and collaborative work, and have access to secondary data

Analyse and evaluate data, methods and scientific models

  • Back at school students will have the opportunity to organise, present and interpret data, evaluate investigative procedure and possible sources of bias, and make inferences and suggestions regarding the population and data in school assessed coursework

Draw evidence-based conclusions

  • Students make conclusions and recommendations, consider limitations and implications

Communicate and explain scientific ideas

  • Students discuss relevant psychological information, using correct terminology, and will have the opportunity to present information back at school in school-assessed coursework

Plan your excursion 

Ethics, Zoos and You is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Students will need a copy of the student workbook, clipboard and a pen. Teachers will need a copy of the teacher workbook. Student electronic devices are encouraged. 

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