Our Zoo to Youby: Mimi Wickless, Tiffany M. Heng-Moss, Lois Mayo, David W. Brooks, Amjad Abuloum, and Brian Mancuso

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An innovative zoo outreach program, Our Zoo to You, places zoo animals in local classrooms for extended observation periods. With guidance and support from zoo staff, students are able to safely experience a variety of animals, including geckos, snakes, legless lizards, horned toads, ringneck doves, ferrets, hedgehogs, African brown millipedes, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

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Reviews (4)
  • on Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:06 AM

The article talked about an outreach program at the Folsom Children’s Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Lincoln, Nebraska that loans out animals to classrooms for students to observe and study. The program loans out various domesticated animals, such as geckos, snakes, legless lizards, horned toads, ringneck doves, ferrets, hedgehogs, African brown millipedes, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches for six weeks at a time during the zoo’s off season. The zoo still maintains ownership, and provides veterinarian care for all the animals. Classrooms are required to collect data daily on the animal for the zoo and submit it online. The article goes into more length about requirements, guidelines and lesson suggestions. I think this is an incredible program! It sounds like so much fun. I have considered having a classroom pet, but was hesitant to make that kind of commitment. The article did caution that many teachers have admitted participation in this program was time consuming and takes commitment. I wish my local zoo had such a program.

Stephanie Gomez
Stephanie Gomez

  • on Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:03 AM

The animals are on loan? Critters including geckos, snakes, legless lizards, horned toads, ring neck doves, ferrets, HEDGEHOGS, African brown millipedes, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches! Excuse me for the cuteness overload but wow! What a great idea that enriches the students’ lives and the animals. This article really gets an educator thinking about how they could introduce different animals to the classroom. It also reminds teachers to check with their school districts and different restrictions for animals and the classroom. Not everyone may have this opportunity but reading about it makes me think about different critters I could introduce. I currently have a hedgehog so he’s in for sure. I think it’s really great that classrooms that participate in this get four animals per year in six-week intervals. An opportunity like this could really get a classroom interested in science. I love that the previous teacher and students reports and investigations of the animal are passed to the next class. What a great program Lincoln, Nebraska has going for their schools.

Brittany Cebada
Brittany Cebada

  • on Sat Apr 02, 2016 3:48 PM

This is an interesting look at a partnership between a zoo and a classroom. I think this would be an awesome experience for students because these are not animals students see on a regular basis. It also allows the students to do extra research on some of the animals they are working with. This plays into the inquiry process that students use to learn. I think this could be possible with some strings being pulled through a local zoo around your area.

Kaylee Buck
Kaylee Buck

  • on Sun May 20, 2012 3:23 PM

This article describes a wonderful partnership between a zoo and the classroom. Critters are loaned by the zoo for observations by elementary students---observations which lead to inquiry lessons. All questions related to hazards to both humans and animals are thoroughly addressed within the article, as is how to develop a meaningful inquiry in your classroom. If you have a small zoo near you, this article provides the blueprint for setting up a similar program in your own school. Please note that the links at the end of the article do not work.

Patricia  (Pottstown, PA)
Patricia (Pottstown, PA)

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