Fighting Extinction - Zoos - For People or Animals?

Fighting Extinction - Zoos - For People or Animals?

Lesson 1 of 2 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 7 - 8
  • Science
  • Environmental
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation
  • Sustainability
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this lesson, students explore big questions and issues relating to animal welfare, ethics and zoos. They begin by working in groups to interview classmates on their thoughts and feelings about zoos, before participating in a class-wide guided discussion about a clip that explores how other people think and talk about zoos. Students then work in groups to create their own guided discussion about a clip, and then share this with the class. Students further explore the divisive opinions about zoos by participating in a role-play using Edward de Bono’s Thinking Hats. Finally, students will investigate what their local zoo is doing in terms of conservation and education.

Learning Intentions:

Students will...

  • Students understand that different people have different ethical views about the roles of zoos and these issues can be very divisive
  • Students understand that many zoos are moving to a model that prioritises conservation of threatened species

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • participate in class discussions
  • create a guided discussion
  • participate in a class role-play
  • work independently and in groups
  • undertake research online
  • apply critical thinking skills to a range of divisive topics
  • respectfully listen to and express ideas about divisive issues

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian curriculum content descriptions: 

Year 7 Science:

  • Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)

Year 8 Science:

  • Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-11PW

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.7, OI.9

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines and diverse cultures has been used to solve a real-world problem. They explain possible implications of the solution for different groups in society.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students explain how evidence has led to an improved understanding of a scientific idea and describe situations in which scientists collaborated to generate solutions to contemporary problems. They reflect on implications of these solutions for different groups in society.

Unit of work: Fighting Extinction – Secondary

Time required: 120 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in guided discussion and facilitate Thinking Hats activity

Resources required


  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Ethical understanding
  • Problem solving
  • Social skills

Additional info

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 ZooMelbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. Click here to find out more about Zoos Victoria and their work on fighting extinction.

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