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Discover how conservation scientists use science, technology, engineering and mathematics to study and save wildlife. Educators will learn tangible ways to apply this knowledge with students to inspire and encourage STEM learning. Participants will gain experience working with wildlife camera traps and applications for collecting data as well as explore community-based research projects that their students can participate in.
The Indianapolis Zoo and Ball State University are teaming up to help educators develop and implement inquiry-based lesson plans that integrate science and wildlife conservation. This year we will explore global and local conservation projects that the Zoo supports, including the World Parrot Trust’s protection of blue-throated macaws in Bolivia and efforts to raise hellbender salamanders for release here in Indiana. Participants will use the Zoo as a learning laboratory, visiting animal and plant habitats and meeting Zoo staff and other experts. Educators will hone their knowledge of field conservation and key components of successful conservation programs, explore strategies to engage students in authentic inquiry-based science learning on these topics, and leave with a lesson plan ready for the classroom.
This program is for educators from all disciplines across the K-12 spectrum, including pre-service teachers.
Can’t make it to the Zoo in person? Virtual Classroom Connect Sessions bring the Zoo live into your classroom instead! Students can chat with a Zoo educator using a virtual platform. Each session last 30 minutes. You can choose from a topic-based session (see list below) or a Question & Answer session.
A Connect by Topic session includes a discussion about your selected topic, enhanced with Zoo artifacts or videos, with time for questions and answers. Various program topics are available. If you do not see the topic you would like, custom programs may be accommodated with advanced notice.
Not looking for a lesson, but just have lots of questions? You and your students can connect with a Zoo educator for a Question & Answer Session. To allow us time to prepare and answer as many questions as possible, we will ask for questions to be submitted at least a week before the date of the program.
The Indianapolis Prize recognizes the world’s most successful animal conservationists. Conservation Hero Profiles were created to assist educators to connect students to 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
Whether it’s trekking through the heart of a rainforest or diving into the depths of an ocean, 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.
2021 Indianapolis Prize Winner and Finalists
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.
Are you planning a visit to the zoo and want to help your students understand what their field trip may be like? We've created an online resource to help students and teachers explore the Zoo experience before their visit.
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)