Tasmanian Devil sitting in grass looking directly at the camera.

Saving Endangered Species

Year levels

Year 7 & Year 8


$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students


Endangered Species, STEM

Level up your STEM curriculum with real-life problems about Australian endangered animals. This program is part of the STEM Design Challenge 2019 (Terms 3 and 4).

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

How do you save a species from extinction? One person (or organisation) can’t easily solve this complex STEM problem. It requires the many individuals working together to achieve success.

The STEM Design Challenge is a unique education program that empowers Year 7-8 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 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 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 (VCSSU090)

  • Students will learn about what scientists in Recovery Teams need consider when working with endangered animals

Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs and can be affected by human activity (VCSSU093)

  • Students will learn about what environmental conditions help animals thrive in the wild and how human activity has impacted on endangered animals
Design and Technologies

Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD050)

  • Students will use Design Thinking to generate, grow and test their ideas for animal conservation
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 develop their own creative solutions – Understand, Ideate, Prototype, Test and Refine

Personal and Social Capability

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 

Please 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