Quick summary: In this lesson, students explore big issues relating to animal welfare, ethics and zoos. They begin by investigating their own thoughts and feelings about zoos before conducting an analysis of a text dealing with some of the difficult and divergent views people have about zoos. Students will then explore what their local zoo is doing in terms of education and conservation. Finally, students will bring together all the ideas presented in this lesson and engage in a class debate.
This lesson has been developed in partnership with Zoos Victoria. Zoos Victoria is a zoo-based conservation organisation whose mission is to fight extinction and support Victorians to be the world’s most wildlife friendly community through being caring, informed and active. Zoos Victoria operate three zoos: Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Click here to find out more about Zoos Victoria and their work on fighting extinction.
- Students understand that there are a range of ethical issues involved with zoos, and that these issues can be very divisive.
- Students understand that having a debate around a difficult or divisive issue can help to find common ground or consensus.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 9 Science
- Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)
- People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE160)
Year 10 Science
- The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
- People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE194)
Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW, SC5-13ES.
General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding.
Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes.
Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: Students explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution.
Unit of work: Fighting Extinction – Secondary.
Time required: 120 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in research activities and facilitate discussions and debate.
Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. A device capable of presenting a video to the class. Debate Guidelines. Year 9 Question Sheet. Year 10 Question Sheet. Conservation Priorities Factsheet. Class set of the following articles:
- Article 1 – Zoos Are Not Prisons. They Improve the Lives of Animals
- Article 2 – Ethics at the Zoo: The Case of Marius the Giraffe
- Article 3 – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Ethics in Zoos
Keywords: Zoos Victoria, fighting extinction, extinction, zoo, ethics, conservation, morals, debate.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.