Mussels are often out-of-sight and out-of-mind. But native mussels are important for healthy rivers and lakes. Sadly, freshwater mussels are the most at-risk group of animals in the United States. Five species native to Minnesota are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Minnesota Zoo is working with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help mussel populations by rearing mussels for release into the wild. In addition, the Zoo is working to educate the public about these important species and their role in healthy ecosystems.
This curriculum guide is designed to provide lesson ideas and activities in order to incorporate native freshwater mussels and their importance to water quality into your existing curriculum. These lessons can be used individually or together, depending upon your time and resources. All lessons are aligned to address current curricular objectives and both state and national educational standards.
Zoo Quest Curriculum
STEM Quest Curriculum Guide: Analyzing Human Impact in Malaysia
STEM Quest is a curriculum guide meant to help students realize humans act as part of an ecosystem and use science, technology, engineering and math in the conservation and protection of habitats and species that live in Southeast Asia, specifically the country of Malaysia. You and your students will learn about the positive and negative impacts of human engineering and technology and the consequences and destruction that animals now face in their natural habitat. This curriculum prepares students for STEM Trek
Explore Minnesota’s biomes and discover how animals adapt to our unique landscape and climate with engaging, standards-based classroom activities. This curriculum guide was developed for 6th-8th graders but can be easily adapted for older or younger students. Bring along the accompanying Minnesota Trek, an on-site self-guided tour of the Medtronic Minnesota trail to focus your field trip learning. This is a great complement to any unit on Minnesota history, wildlife, environments, or biology. This curriculum prepares students for Minnesota Trek
We have updated our math curriculum! The following activities were designed to demonstrate how we use math, science, and engineering to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. There are four primary topics: Feeding Animals, Animal Measurements (AKA: Animal Shapes, Sizes and Weights), Animal Speeds, and Exhibit Design which you can use easily in your classroom. There is also a MN Zoo Field Trip worksheet to utilize on your next visit. It is a mixed of the primary topics but the students need to visit the exhibits to obtain some of the data needed for the solve problem. All together it creates a complete unit. The Minnesota Graduation Standards were considered carefully during the development of this packet.
In addition to the curriculum guide, use the STEM Trek on your next field trip to the zoo! Whether it is used as an embedded activity to be used as a part of the STEM Quest curriculum guide or to function as a separate activity, this self-guided exploration of the tropics trail will challenge students to use problem solving, observational, math, and data collection skills to analyze the positive impact of the Minnesota Zoo has in addressing the problems facing animals in captivity.
Keep your students engaged with this self-guided tour of the Medtronic Minnesota Trail. This activity guide focuses on the three main biomes of Minnesota and examines how animals are adapted to survive here. Designed for 6th-8th graders, this guide can be modified for use with older or younger students.
Climate Change Ocean Trek
Engage your students with this self-guided tour of Discovery Bay. This trek was developed for middle and upper level students to use at the Minnesota Zoo in order to examine how human actions have affected many aspects of marine life and understand methods for reducing human impacts on the oceans.
Climate Change Oceans Trek—upper grades
Climate Change Ocean Trek—upper grades KEY
Environmental Studies Trek NEW!
Asist your middle and upper level students to explore environmental studies themes throughout the Zoo. Topics covered include habitats, environment, human impact, and climate.
Environmental Studies Trek—upper grades
Environmental Studies Trek—upper grades KEY
Russia Grizzly Coast Trek
Engage your students with this quick activity while visiting Russia’s Grizzly Coast. The scavenger hunt focuses on a variety of aspects from size to diet to adaptations. Two grade levels are available.
Russia Grizzly Coast Trek-Grades K-3
Russia Grizzly Coast Trek-Grades K-3 KEY
Russia Grizzly Coast Trek-Grades 4-8
Russia Grizzly Coast Trek -Grades 4-8 KEY
The following activities were designed to demonstrate how we use math, science, and engineering to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. In addition to the Math Curriculum you can do At Your School, we offer math activities you can use while visiting the MN Zoo.
Grades 1-2 MN Zoo Field Trip
Grades 1-2 MN Zoo Field Trip KEY
Grades 3-4 MN Zoo Field Trip
Grades 3-4 MN Zoo Field Trip KEY
Grades 5-6 MN Zoo Field Trip
Grades 5-6 MN Zoo Field Trip KEY
Grades 7-12 MN Zoo Field Trip
Grades 7-12 MN Zoo Field Trip KEY
Zoo Trail Guides
Please note the Minnesota Zoo’s animal collection is constantly changing and shifting. Some activities may refer to animals no longer in our collection. Zoo volunteers would be able to answer questions student have about other animals.
ZooMS Design Challenge
The ZooMS design challenge offers students a chance to develop a solution to a ‘real’ problem faced by Zoo Keepers and staff at the Minnesota Zoo. From designing an enrichment, to building a model of a renovated animal exhibit, the problem will challenge students to use their science and math knowledge, creativity, problem solving, and research skills during the engineering design process in order to best solve the problem. Selected students are invited to showcase their design challenge solution for a chance to win a backstage pass experience with our animals!
Recycle for Rainforests: Student Conservation Project
Start a cell phone recycling drive in your class or school! This is a great opportunity to introduce students to an authentic conservation project with tangible results. Participating schools will receive a book, posters, parent letter templates, educational resources and more! Email us with your address so we can send your free kit to get started today! Want more information? Click here or call 952-431-9296.
Sponsor an Animal
This is a wild community service project for Student Councils or classrooms. For a brochure, fund raising ideas or more information call (952) 431-9216 or visit our Sponsor an Animal web page.