Summer is coming to an end but that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of zoo visits!
Field trips are something that should be fun and educational – zoos and aquariums are both! Most have great education departments that work to provide lesson plans, educational tours, and curriculum based activities for students coming for a visit. Whether you tie it to biology, chemistry, general science, art, geography, writing, or any combination of subjects, the zoo is a place for learning. Many zoos are also open year round or until Thanksgiving – you can plan a trip in the fall or spring. Build off of the sights and sounds of the zoo – art projects depicting their favourite animal, creative writing papers researching an endangered species, science projects showing the ecosystems of rainforests or oceans in other parts of the world. Zoos have the ability to inspire children to learn more about the world and the animals within it.
Perhaps the greatest benefit is the environmental or green practices that are often kickstarted by seeing endangered animals in person. In preparation of your zoo trip organize some classroom activities:
- A recycling program teaching why plastic and garbage can be bad for the environment and the animals.
- An old cell phone collection: students can collect from family and friends to be recycled on their zoo visit to help gorillas
- A wish list collection: many zoos have a ‘wish list’ of towels, food, toys, etc for their animals
- A scavenger hunt for their trip, things to find and see
- Sponsor/Adopt an animal: as a classroom adopt an animal from the zoo and visit during your trip or check out WWF for a great Classroom adoption package
- Make a pledge to carpool, walk, or ride a bike to and from school
What if you have limited resources or a field trip is not feasible? Doing any of the above activities would still be benefiting the children and the zoo animals.
So as a teacher if you are planning a field trip for the year consider a zoo, aquarium, or sanctuary near you! Parents and students suggest it to your teacher or school as a trip that you would like to go on…you won’t regret it!