Twycross Zoo offers many educational opportunities for schools including a recently added session that gives pupils a hands-on experience in designing their own zoo.
The zoo, situated in Leicestershire, is home to around 150 different species of animal, but specialises in primates.
Twycross invites school groups to learn about these animals and encourages them to take part in a number of educational activities and sessions categorised by Key Stage. The zoo also provides rooms especially for schools to have lessons in during their visits to the zoo.
School Travel Organiser looks into what Twycross Zoo has to offer schools, including a glance into its new ‘Design Your Own Zoo’ programme.
Design Your Own Zoo sessions
The zoo has recently launched a new educational option for schools which offers pupils the opportunity to learn about the architecture and planning behind zoo enclosures.
Pupils are encouraged to design their own zoo enclosures out of Lego that are then judged by members of zoo staff.
Schools are then invited to connect all designs together to create a zoo and gain a better understanding of the fundamentals behind each animal enclosure and the requirements needed for a zoo to function.
This new educational programme ties in to Maths, Science and Design Technology curriculums.
Pictured: Children designing their own zoo at Twycross Zoo.
Key Stage 1 and 2 sessions
Sessions aimed at Key Stage 1 pupils involve lessons about the food chain, including discussions about prey and predators.
Schools can also arrange sessions to teach children about habitats and adaptation. These discussions can be linked to geography curriculums.
Discussions for Key Stage 2 groups involve Geography and learning about environmental change and how it affect animals.
Science discussions are available too, which allow pupils to discover the difference between learnt behaviour and instinct, along with the behavioural qualities of different animal groups.
Key Stage 3 Sessions
Key Stage 3 pupils will get the chance to learn about food webs and pesticide use which is taught on Science and Geography curriculums.
Pupils will also be encouraged to host a debate about the uses of pesticides on GM food crops and the effects.
Key Stage 4 and 5 Sessions
Climate change and global warming are amongst some of the discussions available for Key Stage 4 and 5 students.
Schools can learn more about selective breeding and the impact the modern world is having on it.
Applied science and animal welfare are subjects taught at Twycross Zoo for higher Key Stages and career days are also available for students to get a look behind the running of the zoo.
All Key Stages
Pupils visiting the zoo will get to handle real animal skeletons and fossils in sessions that teach about evolution, variation and classification.
When observing the animals whilst going around the zoo, students can compare man and the four types of great apes at Twycross and run their own investigations into animal behaviour.
Pictured: Educational workshops at Twycross Zoo.
Additional Information about Twycross Zoo
Earlier this year an endangered species of gorilla, the Western lowland gorilla, gave birth. This was an important and special time as the zoo works to support these animals and bring them a step closer to not being endangered. Schools may be able to spot this baby gorilla when visiting the zoo.
In recent years, Twycross Zoo has renovated several of its enclosures and opened brand new exhibits including Elephant Creek, a lemur walk-through where visitors can walk amongst the free roaming lemurs, and the Butterfly House.
Last year the zoo launched a £55 million plan to develop the zoo over the next 20 years, including an expansion and renovation of the zoo site with brand new enclosures and animals.
For more information visit www.twycrosszoo.org.