Extreme Zoo Makeover: A STEM Approach to Habitat Design


Extreme Zoo Makeover: A STEM Approach to Habitat Design

Help your students rise to the MA STEM Week theme “See Yourself in STEM” as they use their STEM skills and creativity to meet the “Extreme Zoo Makeover” Challenge. Participation is FREE!

Join the Wade Institute for Science Education and our collaborating partners, the Lloyd Center for the Environment and Buttonwood Park Zoo, for our 2022 STEM Challenge “Extreme Zoo Makeover: A STEM Approach to Habitat Design.” The Challenge will engage students in grades 5–8 in a unique experience that integrates science and engineering concepts in a series of inquiry-based investigations that lead up to a student-driven challenge. Elementary and high schools are welcome to participate in the challenge.

Students will be given the following challenge: “A Zoo has contacted your team of engineers because they want to do a makeover of some of their exhibits! As we learn more about animals’ needs, we’ve realized many Zoo’s old habitats are no longer adequate and it’s up to you and your engineering team to redesign them. You must find a way to 1) design habitats that meet the specific needs of the animals for which you are designing them, 2) engineer an enrichment item for your animal species that will stimulate natural behaviors, and 3) create an interpretive sign and interactive features that will engage the public in your animal habitat."

The Challenge will include:

  • A Professional Development session for educators planning to implement the challenge in their classrooms. Pre-Challenge Professional Development Sessions will be held on Wednesdays, September 21st and 28th, 3:30 PM–6:30 PM ET (virtual session) OR Saturday, September 17, 8:30 AM–3:00 PM ET (in-person session at Buttonwood Park Zoo).
  • A curriculum guide providing background information and inquiry-based investigations that can be used to lead up to the Challenge.
  • A materials kit for implementing the challenge in your classroom.

Save your spot! Sign up today!

The Massachusetts STEM Week is sponsored by the Executive Office of Education and the MA STEM Advisory Council. Our STEM Challenge is funded by a grant from the MA STEM Advisory Council. Learn more about STEM Week.