Event Reports

Zoo showcases biology 'big picture'

Excursion highlights nature  

‘Big Picture Biology’ was the focus of the VCE Biology 200 excursion to Melbourne Zoo. 

The zoo’s educational team delivered the task to students, who were encourage to draw links between the VCE curriculum, an environmental workshop and endangered species. Students say the real-life experience of moving from books and the internet to animal enclosures, was invaluable as it enabled them to hear and see directly how environmental change impacts animals. 

“It was interesting learning about the different species,” Tarli says. “In particular, how changing the temperature of the crocodile incubation (of eggs) could change the sex of the animal.” 

For Hayley and Alicia, the lessons were useful in extending their knowledge of understanding biology of certain animal species. “The zoo does a lot of work towards helping endangered animals and the teaching sessions are very useful,” Alicia says. Adds Hayley: “It was informative and really helped extend my biological understanding.”

Zoe and Eloise say it was the elephants that caught their interest. “It was a really good experience … elephants have a gestation period of two years and are only fertile for 12 days of the year, which was amazing to learn,” Zoe says.

The hands-on approach to learning is designed to help students out theory into practice. “It was great to see the various adaptations in various animals,” Hayden says. “The discussions with the zookeepers was great, also; it taught us how to apply our knowledge in a real-world experience.” 

— Year 10 students