Welcome back to school from VP of Education
Welcome back to another school year! Here at Zoo Atlanta, we have been busy this summer getting the 2018-19 school program lineup ready for your students. This year, the Zoo has some new experiences, as well as some returning favorites, for your students in grades Pre-K through 12! Each of our school programs is aligned with Georgia Standards of Excellence, embeds core STEM content and skills, and integrates exploration of wildlife conservation.
If you are planning a trip to the Zoo, enhance it with a Zoo Challenge or Wild Walk. Zoo Challenges are Zoo educator-led experiences that engage your students in exploring real-world challenges, with questions like: What is the role of pollinators? or How can we save wildlife and wild places? Each of these programs takes students into the Zoo and uses immersive, hands-on, minds-on learning stations. The Wild Walks (formally known as Group Tours) are adaptable experiences where Zoo guides create a personal experience for your students. Whether you choose a STEM Wild Walk through the Zoo or you add on a behind-the-scenes component such as the Animal Nutrition Kitchen, your students will gain access to interesting stories and the inside scoop on what it’s like to care for the animals at Zoo Atlanta. Each of the Wild Walk experiences can be customized, based on your own learning goals for your students.
Can’t bring all your students to the Zoo? Let the Zoo come to you through our ZooMobile program. In this learning experience, Zoo Atlanta will visit your school and engage your students in exploring wildlife and wild places with the help of some of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors. The Zoo can facilitate up to three programs in a day, and each is grade-specific and complements what you are teaching in the classroom.
If you are looking for a special experience to offer your students as a way to celebrate a unit project, take part in one of our evening conservation education adventures, NightCrawlers or Twilight Trek. Both of these programs provide participants with after-hours experiences. NightCrawlers is an overnight adventure, packed with activities, animals, and opportunities to see what happens in the Zoo when the sun goes down and comes up. Twilight Trek is an evening adventure where participants learn about the Zoo’s conservation initiatives and explore technology used by wildlife biologists to track and research animals in the wild.
If you are looking for some resources for your classroom to enhance what is being taught, utilize one of our Cases for Conservation or attend one of our professional learning experiences. Each of these has grade-specific curriculum that you can use in your classroom. Cases for Conservation are teacher toolkits, full of engaging materials such as biofacts, books and activities, and allow you to enhance your classroom curriculum. Teachers are welcome to borrow cases for up to two weeks, and this is a FREE resource. Cases are available for Pre-K to 7th grade.
The professional learning programs at Zoo Atlanta provide for an immersive experience where teachers get hands-on learning, access to Zoo resources and time to network and plan with Zoo educators and colleagues. This year, we are excited to offer a NEW virtual program, focused on gorilla conservation, that will bridge the barrier of distance that many teachers and schools have. In addition, there are offerings on Bio-inspired Design and Exhibit Design at the Zoo. Lastly, we are excited to continue our partnership with The High Museum, The Atlanta Botanical Garden and Georgia Aquarium through our STEAM Series: Program Conservation, a series of teacher workshops that embed the arts with conservation.
If you want to learn more about these programs, as well as other programs and services at Zoo Atlanta, come to our exclusive Educator Extravaganza in September! During this free, after-hours event presented by Kaiser Permanente, educators can explore simulated Zoo education programs, visit select Zoo animal species after-hours, experience a Keeper Talk and enjoy refreshments as you network with fellow teachers.
Again, welcome to a new school year. No matter what your curriculum for your classroom is, Zoo Atlanta has a resource that can enhance it. Whether you come to the Zoo or the Zoo comes to you, we look forward to seeing you this year!