STEM for Sustainability
Develop Year 5-6 students’ STEM skills knowledge by helping Melbourne Zoo solve real-world environmental problems.
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 to solve in:
The Sustainability Manager needs new and creative ideas for generating electricity
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.
Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity of the STEM Design challenge before their zoo 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.
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.
Zoo Map *coming soon*
STEM for Sustainability Teaching Guide *coming soon*
Victorian Curriculum 5-6
Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives (VCSSU073)
- Students will apply science skills to design environmental solutions
Energy from a variety of sources can be used to generate electricity; electric circuits enable this energy to be transferred to another place and then to be transformed into another form of energy (VCSSU081)
- Students will discover and utilise different ways to generate electricity
Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (VCDSCD039)
- Students will use Design Thinking to generate, grow and test their ideas and prototypes
Connect three-dimensional objects with their nets and other two-dimensional representations (VCMMG198)
- Back in classroom, students will demonstrate their solutions through 3D prototype
Investigate how ideas and problems can be disaggregated into smaller elements or ideas, how criteria can be used to identify gaps in existing knowledge, and assess and test ideas and proposals (VCCCTM031)
- 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
STEM for Sustainability is 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.