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.

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Professional Development

Educator Open House

Sharing One World: Long-tailed Macaques, a Gift of John and Cynde Barnes

Sept. 13 • 4-6:30 pm • $5

Explore the Zoo and experience the new Sharing One World: Long-tailed Macaques exhibit. See how the Zoo can be your classroom by learning about the educational opportunities the Indianapolis Zoo has to offer you and your students. Light snacks and beverages will be served. 

Animal Enrichment Challenge 

Oct. 6 • 9am-3pm • Cost: $20
For third-eighth-grade teachers

In this program you will learn how the Zoo uses enrichment with our animals and how your students can be involved with creating ideas for animal enrichment. You will explore how you can use this project in a variety of ways to meet academic standards and STEM disciplines. Educators participating in this program will have the opportunity to have their students involved in the Animal Enrichment Challenge with the Indianapolis Zoo.

Wildlife Science

April 13, 2019 • 9am-3pm • Cost: $20 (Materials included)

Discover how scientists use science, technology, engineering and math to study and save wildlife. Learn how to apply this knowledge for activities you can do with your students to inspire and encourage STEM learning.

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An Educator’s Adventure to Costa Rica: A Showcase of Conservation

July 10-18, 2019 • Cost: $2,796

Double Occupancy, registration by May 6. Airfare is not included but can be added for additional costs. Airfare should not be booked until trip is confirmed.

Join the Indianapolis Zoo on an adventure of a lifetime to amazing Costa Rica! See nature at its finest and explore the many conservation projects taking part in this biodiverse country.

View the itinerary.

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.

Carl Jones, the most recent Prize winner, has dedicated his life to restoring endangered animal populations and habitat. Carl has developed and led successful recoveries for many species of reptiles, mammals and birds.

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

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:

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Education Kits

Our education kits are designed to engage and educate students with hands-on activities focusing 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.
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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 a 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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