STEM for Sustainability

Year levels

Year 3, Year 4


$19 per student


Monday to Friday (during school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students


Resource Management, STEM, Sustainability

Level up your Year 3-4 curriculum by finding solutions to real-world environmental problems at Melbourne Zoo.

Program description

Melbourne Zoo is continually reducing its impact on the environment. It was the first zoo to become carbon neutral by reducing energy use, changing buildings and investing in forest carbon offset projects. 

Melbourne Zoo has a big sustainability STEM Design challenge for your students: 

The Sustainability Manager is seeking new and creative ideas for generating electricity at the Zoo 

Students will learn: 

  • About sustainability at Melbourne Zoo, focusing on electricity 
  • To develop STEM skills such as scientific observation and Design Thinking 
  • To express their ideas through Project-based Learning 
  • To enhance their creative thinking skills 

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, your students can share their designs with Zoos Victoria. 

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students curiosity of the STEM Design challenge before their zoo visit. 

During your visit

Connect and Understand 

Students will conduct research and use their scientific observation skills to deepen their understanding of the STEM Design challenge whilst at Melbourne Zoo. They may also start to brainstorm ideas. 

Your zoo visit will include:  Introduction (for arrivals between 9:40am – 10am), Zoo Teacher workshop (40 minutes) and keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at the zoo.

After your visit


Back at school, students will work in teams of up to six people and choose an idea to work on. The Teaching Guide will help you use an engineering framework called Design Thinking, which helps teams quickly translate their ideas into prototypes. 


Use the Teaching Guide to enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. 

Program resources

Zoo Map *coming soon* 

STEM for Sustainability Teaching Guide *coming soon* 

Learning outcomes

Victorian Curriculum 3-4


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

  • Students will apply science skills to design environmental solutions 
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 and prototypes 

Prototype by making models of three-dimensional objects and describe key features (VCMMG142) 

  • Back in classroom, students will demonstrate their solutions through 3D prototype 
Critical & Creative Thinking

Investigate a range of problem-solving strategies, including brainstorming, identifying, comparing and selecting options, and developing and testing hypotheses (VCCI alsoCTM020) 

  • Students will learn how to use each stage of Design Thinking to develop their own creative solutions

Plan your excursion

STEM for Sustainabilityis an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection.  

Bring what students need to record their research e.g. notes, drawings, photographs, videos, voice memos, diagrams. 

School groups will enter Melbourne Zoo via the Rail Gate entrance. Organising teachers please check in with our Admissions team upon arrival. More Information. 

All onsite excursion bookings are subject to coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions and as such are subject to change in line with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s advice. We will be in contact with all teachers prior to their booked date if we need to clarify any new requirements. 

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