In this hands-on zoo field trip lesson plan, students will create a class scrapbook using their own observations of animal behavior.
Zoo Learning Objectives & Student Outcomes:
Recognize names of animals, animal behaviors and their diet and compare it to animals living in the wild/their natural habitat.
Camera, notebooks (one per student), markers, crayons or colored pencils, blank journal or scrapbook, glue or tape.
Zoo Field Trip Preparation:
- Make sure to obtain all necessary permissions.
- Before the ﬁeld trip, let students know that they should pay close attention to the animal habitats – they’ll be making a zoo animal scrapbook once they return. Remind them that they need to observe the animals and write and/or draw their observations in their notebook.
- Have the students predict what animals they think they will see at the zoo.
- Talk about all field trip rules and emphasize on respecting the animals and their space.
- Read related literature such as If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss and Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann.
At The Zoo Field Trip – Instruction & Teacher Modeling:
Get students engaged by asking them a “hook” question before entering the zoo. An example is: How do you get your food? Most students will answer with “From Mom and Dad” or “From the grocery store.” Tell them that animals that can be found both in zoos and in the wild, get their food in similar ways.
At the zoo, the animals are fed by their caretakers, known as zoo keepers, who acquire this food from special markets. In the wild, baby animals get their food from their parents, while parents have to go ﬁnd or hunt for food.
Explain to the students that they’ll be observing animals in their habitats in order to discover the animals’ diets and eating habits. Let them know that they can record as many observations as they like.
During The Zoo Field Trip: Guided Practice
During the ﬁeld trip, the teacher must take pictures of each animal, which will be used later in class. Discuss the animals’ diets with the students as you visit the habitats. Base questions around What We Know, What We Want to Know, and What We Learned.
For example, a student knows from previous knowledge that tigers eat meat. He may want to know what other things tigers eat, and by the end of the field trip has learned that tigers at the zoo eat chicken, pork, and beef. Upon further discussion, they also learn that tigers in the wild eat antelopes, wildebeests and even crocodiles.
Independent Working Time
Back in the classroom, print the pictures taken at the zoo and paste them into a blank journal or scrapbook. Have students take turns to write down things they’ve learned about each animal under that animal’s picture. Ask them to decorate with illustrations like the ones they made in their notebooks.
Watch some videos or live cams of animals in their natural habitats. Talk about how they live and eat differently from the animals at the zoo.
Ask students who their favorite animal was at the zoo some questions you can ask are: Why is that animal your favorite? What are some things the animal likes to eat? What were some of things you observed in their living area?
Review and Closing:
Play animal charades: Name the characteristics of diﬀerent zoo animals, and have the students guess which animal you’re talking about.
Practice some animal yoga poses:
Chair pose – shift your weight side to side like a monkey and make monkey sounds.
Make an elephant trunk and swing side to side.
Get on your hands and knees and reach for the sky alternating arms making them as long as you can like a giraffe’s neck.
Tree Pose – This pose requires working on single leg balance skills like a flamingo.
Want more field trip ideas? Check out all the amazing destinations near you on Tripology.