A female student looking down at a butterfly resting on her shoulder.

Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem

Year levels

VCE

Cost

$19 per student

Availability

Monday to Friday (during school term)

Student Ratio

1 adult for every 10 students

Using two real-life case studies, discover what experts need to consider to save a threatened frog and butterfly species from extinction. Develop an understanding of the impact of adaptations, homeostasis and disease on survival and collect data to determine how species interact within ecosystems.

Program description

Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem uses in-depth case studies to explore how animals are adapted to their environment, how animals interact with the ecosystem and the success that Zoos Victoria has achieved in the conservation of species.  

Students discover the structural, physiological, and behavioural adaptations of the Southern Corroboree Frog, the threats it faces to its survival including a global devastating fungal infection and the breeding program at Zoos Victoria saving it from extinction. They develop understanding through multi-modal representations, classroom discussion, critical thinking activities and data analysis. Students apply their learning to develop and reflect on conservation strategies.  

Students will learn: 

  • How structural, behavioural and physiological adaptations aid survival 
  • How the internal environment is regulated through homeostasis and stimulus-response signalling 
  • The strategies used by Zoos Victoria to conserve species 
  • About the interdependencies of species within an ecosystem, including distribution and density 
  • To use science inquiry skills 

Program sequence

Before your visit

Connect   

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

During your visit

Connect and Understand 

During your Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem excursion students will practice their practical investigation skills to plan and collect real world data surveying the distribution of a butterfly species within the Butterfly House. This data can be used to develop understanding of the scientific process, and more specifically to identify the factors that affect butterfly distribution. This practical investigation is suitable for school assessed coursework. 

Your zoo visit will include:  Zoo Teacher workshop (40 minutes), practical investigation with a Zoo Teacher (40 minutes), student-led research time and keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at the zoo.

After your visit

Understand 

Use activities in the Teaching Guide to deepen students’ learning back at school. 

Act 

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

Program resources

 

Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem Teaching Guide *coming soon*

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) – Biology

Unit 1: How do living things stay alive?

Area of Study 2: How do living systems sustain life? 

  • Students will explore the survival of a species through learning about their adaptations, homeostasis, disease and natural history and how this understanding can inform strategies to prevent extinction of a species

Area of Study 3: Practical Investigation 

  • Students will carry out a practical investigation that considers experimental design. This will include surveying butterflies within a habitat to collect and analyse data which will inform strategies to conserve a threatened butterfly

Plan your excursion 

Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection. 

Students will need access to the Sustaining Life in an Ecosystem Student Workbook and resources 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