Tasmanian Devil close up profile picture. Excellent detail showing bright eyes and its teeth and two sharp fangs surrounded by long black whiskers.

Saving Endangered Species

Year levels

Year 3 & Year 4


$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students


Endangered Species, STEM

Ignite your students’ love of STEM and help them create solutions for endangered animals. This program is part of the STEM Design Challenge 2019 (Terms 3 and 4).

Introducing Healesville Sanctuary's STEM Design Challenge 2019: Saving Endangered Species.

Saving an endangered species from extinction is a complex STEM problem that can't be solved by one person (or one organisation). It requires the many individuals working together to achieve success.

The STEM Design Challenge is a unique education program that empowers Year 3-4 students to use their knowledge and skills to solve real-life problems.

In Terms 3 and 4, the team at Healesville Sanctuary have two big challenges for students to solve:

  1. Keepers need to monitor the health of the Tasmanian Devil before release into the wild
  2. Recovery Team scientists need to protect the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby from predators

When you visit Healesville Sanctuary, your students will deepen their understanding of endangered animals. An educator will develop their scientific observation skills and share behind-the-scenes stories. Your students will undertake research in the Sanctuary and start to think of solutions.

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

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 15 November 2019.

Activity Duration
Welcome and introduction to your day 10 minutes
Session with a STEM educator  40 minutes
Keeper presentations 1 hour
Sanctuary research 2 hours

Program resources

Learning outcomes


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

  • Students will learn how Recovery Team scientists evaluate human and environmental impact on endangered animals

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

  • Students will learn about what environmental conditions help animals thrive in the wild
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