Brush Tailed Rock Wallaby looking slightly down. Detailed photo showing long black eyelashes.

Saving Endangered Species

Year levels

Year 9 & Year 10


$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during the school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students


Endangered Species, STEM

Get every student involved in STEM through the designing of solutions for endangered animal species. This program is part of the STEM Design Challenge 2019 (Terms 3 and 4).

Introducing Healesville Sanctuary's STEM Design Challenge: 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 9-10 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


The values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (VCSSU116)

  • Students consider how individual and social behaviours impact the survival of endangered animals

Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (VCSIS140)

  • Back in the classroom, students can present their ideas using 3D models, oral presentations, multimodal presentations and contributing to group discussions
Design and Technologies

Apply design thinking, creativity, innovation and enterprise skills to develop, modify and communicate design ideas of increasing sophistication (VCDSCD061)

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

Investigate the kind of criteria that can be used to rationally evaluate the quality of ideas and proposals, including the qualities of viability and workability (VCCCTM053)

  • Students will use a Design Brief and Assessment Criteria to guide their thinking and develop their own creative solutions

Personal and Social Capability (optional)

Evaluate own and others contribution to group tasks, critiquing roles including leadership and provide useful feedback to peers, evaluate task achievement and make recommendations for improvements in relation to team goals (VCPSCSO050)

  • Back in the classroom, you can build in self and group reflection tasks to help students evaluate their participation in the STEM Design Challenge

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