Teacher Resources

Teacher Resources

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Take your science education to the next level and learn from Zoo professionals.

The Indianapolis Zoo provides a variety of science-based lesson plans that will deepen students’ understanding of wildlife and the importance of conservation. All programs are designed to engage students through meaningful, hands-on learning. The Zoo also offers a variety of professional development opportunities for educators and guidance counselors. The Zoo will provide a letter of documentation to participants for their professional development.

Educator Professional Development

Conservation Educator Academy
Saving Species:  From Invasive Pythons to Elephant Poaching

June 24-27 • 8:30am-4:30pm • Cost: $40

Program is designed for 4th-8th grade teachers, but all educators are welcome. We teamed up with Ball State University to help teachers develop and implement inquiry-based lesson plans in the areas of science and conservation. Explore an amazing array of wildlife while learning about a variety of conservation efforts around the world. From invasive species, like Burmese python and lionfish, to the illegal wildlife trade of ivory, rhino horn or tortoises, our planet’s species are struggling for survival. Learn how you and your students can help save wildlife in your backyards and around the world.

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Education Kits

Our education kits are designed to engage and educate students with hands-on activities focused on animals here at the Zoo and around the world. Popular with both full-time teachers and parents who home school their children, these science kits include a teacher’s manual, books, artifacts, activities and more.

Education kits may be rented for two weeks for a $10 rental fee. Kits are to be picked up and returned at the Zoo’s Hix Institute between the hours of 9am-5pm Monday-Friday.

Education Kit Topics

  • Orangutan Kit: Students will explore the world of orangutans and discover how they can make a difference in the conservation of these special primates.
  • Nature Tales: Combines literature and science to connect young learners to the wonders of nature.
  • Elephant Kit: Guide students as they learn all about one of the world’s largest animals.
  • Polar Animals Kit: Explore the world of polar animals with your students as they learn about adaptations, habitats and conservation.
  • Sensory Kit: Students will use their senses to investigate the animal world.
  • Indiana Wildlife Kit: Think locally with Indiana conservation project based learning.
  • Conservation Kit: Bring conservation to your classroom by exploring the relationship between endangered species and the wildlife trade.
  • Amphibians & Reptiles Kit: Dive into the world of herpetofauna with your students and explore life cycles, special adaptations and conservation.
  • Life Cycles Kit: Learn about the wonder of life cycles
Field Investigations

These engaging and educational programs offer students the chance to delve deeper on their Zoo visits. With two investigation options available, kids can look at zoo exhibit design or immerse themselves in animal observations and ethograms. Both programs include activities before, during and after your Field Trip. Learn more about these topics:

Ethograms and Animal Behavior –  Zoo keepers learn a lot from observing the animals they work with each day. Ethograms are used to record animal behavior. Learn how zoo keepers observe animals and complete your own ethogram.

Zoo Exhibit Design –  At a zoo or aquarium, it is the job of a designer to help create the habitat for an animal. In order to build a habitat for an animal in a zoo setting a designer must understand the needs of the animal, keepers and guests. Learn more about the design process and create your own exhibit design.

Indianapolis Prize Conservation Hero Profiles

The Indianapolis Prize recognizes conservationists who have achieved major victories in advancing the sustainability of an animal species or group of species.

Russ Mittermeier, the most recent Prize Winner, is on a quest to save biodiversity hotspots. In a career spanning more than four decades, he’s discovered 21 species new to science and even has eight named after him!

To connect classroom learning with the heroic wonders of the Indianapolis Prize, the Conservation Hero Profiles were created to assist educators with teaching students about the men and women who are saving wildlife and improving our planet for future generations.

Written for a third- to fifth-grade audience, these profiles can be used as a reading assignment, an inspiration for writing or a launching point for further research.

Download Conservation Hero Profiles

Indianapolis Prize Videos

Whether it’s trekking through the heart of a rainforest or diving into the depths of an ocean to follow some of conservation’s leaders, these 3 to 7 minute videos allow students to see and hear about Indianapolis Prize Winners and Finalists and their inspiring work. These videos can be used to encourage deeper study in the areas of wildlife conservation and science.

Indianapolis Prize Winners Playlist
2018 Indianapolis Prize Winner and Finalists

Project-Based Learning

The Indianapolis Zoo wishes to inspire and engage Indiana schools to take part in local conservation projects through Project-Based Learning and Service Learning projects. The Zoo will work with your school to provide resources and expertise to conduct local conservations projects in your communities.

Do you have a PBL project that ties directly to the Zoo, its habitats or animals? Send a short description below to see if you qualify for a limited number of free field trips tickets specifically offered to schools taking part in PBL.

What is Project-Based Learning?

PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. (As defined by Buck Institute for Education’s, BIE, website)

2018-19 School Year
Education Opportunities

Using the Zoo as your classroom brings the whole world closer! From field trips to overnights, and experiences for students as well as educators, discover all the opportunities the Indianapolis Zoo offers to learn more about wild things and wild places.

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2018-19 School Year
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