Five hands all holding a toy Corroboree Frog.

Ethics, Zoos and YOU!

Year levels



$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term)

See how Zoos Victoria apply the key concepts of VCE Psychology to promote animal welfare and wildlife conservation.

Program Description

Ethics, Zoos and YOU! is an opportunity for students to understand science as a human endeavour, by gaining insight into how psychology skills and knowledge can be used in animal welfare and wildlife conservation.
Students develop their understanding of ethical principles and their importance, through facilitated discussions and experience as a participant in psychological research. They are encouraged to consider contemporary science-based issues surrounding animal welfare, and develop an informed perspective. They then apply their scientific understanding using the model of Zoos Victoria’s Animal Ethics Committee and outline the implications and limitations of a current ethical dilemma.
Option 1 – Research Methods
By choosing the scientific investigation, students are offered an invaluable opportunity to develop key science skills while researching captive animal welfare at Melbourne Zoo. To demonstrate skills, students are required to plan and research the 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 expert. There is an option for this fieldwork to be presented in a scientific poster back at school.
Option 2 – Behaviour Change
Alternatively, students can explore key knowledge in Unit 2; how Zoos Victoria applies the tri-component model to influence and shape the behaviour of our visitors. Through the analysis of one of Zoos Victoria’s community conservation projects, students will consider contemporary research and their understanding of group behaviour to examine the project and its effectiveness in encouraging visitors to take conservation actions.
Students will learn to:
  • Apply and understand ethical principles
  • Gather qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis including case studies
  • Communicate scientific ideas
  • An understanding of scientific process and assess the strengths and limitations of science
  • Understand the ethical, social and political contexts of scientific endeavours
  • Analytical skills including critical and creative thinking
  • Analyse contemporary psychology-related issues
Activity Duration
Workshop with Melbourne Zoo teacher – psychology skills and knowledge in animal welfare and wildlife conservation
45 minutes
Workshop with Melbourne Zoo teacher – onsite workshop, teachers chosen focus of behaviour change or research methods of orangutans 45 minutes
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 hypothesises, 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

  • Students organise, present and interpret data, evaluate investigative procedure and possible sources of bias, and make inferences and suggestions regarding the population and data

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 present information as a scientific report or poster


Unit 2: How do external factors influence behaviour and mental processes?

Area of Study 2: How are people influenced to behave in particular ways?

  • Through the analysis of one of Zoos Victoria's community conservation projects, students will explore how Zoos Victoria applies the tri-component model to influence and shape the behaviour of our visitors

Plan your excursion 

This is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. Students will need a copy of the student workbook, electronic device, clipboard and a pen. Teachers will need a copy of the teacher workbook.

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