Through the Minnesota Zoo’s Math and Science (ZOOMS) Program, students and teachers discover just what it takes to engineer a modern zoo. ZOOMS provides both teachers and students the opportunity to apply important science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to real world situations using the Minnesota Zoo as a context. Through topics such as Engineering FOR Animals (exhibit design), Engineering FROM Animals (biomimicry), and Engineering BY Animals (animals as engineers), teachers and students are challenged to consider and tackle the complexities in both the natural world and constructed environments. The ZOOMS program supports teachers with integrating standards-based ZOOMS resources, design challenges, and field trips into their curriculum to better equip students with the STEM skills to engineer and problem solve just like zookeepers, exhibit designers and conservationists at the Minnesota Zoo! Start seeing the zoo in a whole new way!
How is STEM applied at the Minnesota Zoo? Get inspired through the exploration of exhibit design, biomimicry, and animal engineers to further equip your students with STEM skills used by real zoo professionals.
Professional Development Opportunities
- ZOOMS Institute August 3-6, 2020, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
See the Zoo in a whole new way! This four day workshop will engage teachers in utilizing animals and the Zoo as a tool to integrate engineering concepts into their curriculum, based on the Minnesota State Science Standards. Sessions focus on Engineering BY Animals, Engineering FROM Animals (biomimicry), and Engineering FOR Animals. Through hands on activities, expert talks and behind the scenes experiences, see how STEM is being used by aquarists, conservationists, and zoo staff to help care for and conserve wildlife both in the zoo and in the wild.Please note this workshop requires long stretches of walking and standing throughout the week. Motorized single rider carts are available for rent through Guest Services if needed.
75% refund through May 31
50% refund June 1 – July 11
No refund after July 12
- Customized STEM Professional Development for your group
Work with us to create your own single day workshop or a three day ZOOMS Institute with a focus on biomimicry, animal engineers, or exhibit design. Reserve dates that work with your schedule! To schedule your custom professional development, contact [email protected] or call 952-431-9243.
- STEM Tours
Get a better idea of how STEM is applied at the Zoo with this 1½ hour tour that will take you behind the scenes to experience first-hand how engineering is used by zoo professionals. To schedule a STEM tour, contact [email protected] or call 952-431-9243.
Fee: $8 per person; $80 minimum plus applicable admission fees.
3 Graduate credits are offered for consecutively completing ZOOMS Institute (4 days) through Hamline University for $190/credit. Note: This does not include workshop registration fee. Clock hours are also available for all professional development opportunities. Please email [email protected] for more information.
The ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge presented by Flint Hills Resources 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 and present a solution. Selected students are invited to showcase their design challenge solution in the ZOOMS Design Exhibition in March at the Minnesota Zoo for a chance to win a backstage pass experience with our animals!
See the ZOOMS Design Challenge in Action!
2019-2020 ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge presented by Flint Hills Resources – Registration now open until September 13!
Immerse students in the world of engineering at the zoo in this customized full or multi-day residency. Guided by a zoo naturalist, students will be led through hands on inquiry-based activities, an exploration of exhibit and enrichment design, behind the scenes experiences, encounters with zoo professionals in STEM and more. Students will leave with a deeper understanding of how science, technology, engineering, and math is used and applied at the zoo.
Fee: $25 per student per day; $250 per day minimum plus applicable admission fees.
Only available for registration during school year.
These 45 to 60 minute interactive classes are fun and engaging and provide a great opportunity to reinforce standard-based concepts being explored in your curriculum.
- Penguineering (Grades 2-4)
Students will expand their knowledge about Minnesota Zoo’s South African penguins. After a penguin exhibit problem is identified, it is up to the students develop a solution through the construction of a nesting site.
- Biomimicry 101 (Grades 3-6)
What do airplanes, medical tape, and air conditioning have in common? They are some of the many human inventions that have been inspired by nature. Explore the science of biomimicry to see how scientists are looking to the natural world to develop new sustainable products and technologies that change the way we live. How will nature spark your design creativity?
- Enrichment Inquiry (Grades 3-5 and 6-12)
Explore the role of enrichment coordinator at the Minnesota Zoo. Learn how an animal’s behavioral and physical adaptations steer the design and type of enrichment it receives. Through inquiry and hands on exploration of real zoo enrichment items, students will analyze and identify features that connect each animal to its approved enrichment.
- Zoo Exhibit Design (Grades 3-5 and 6-12)
Have you ever wondered what it takes to design an exhibit at the zoo? Learn about animal needs and how to identify the components that make a successful animal exhibit. Put your engineering skills to the test by constructing your own exhibit!
- Vanishing Animals (Grades 6-12)
How can researchers know whether or not an animal is in danger of extinction? We’ll learn about the characteristics that conservation biologists look for, talk about the role that zoo’s play in the conservation of endangered species, and utilize scientific equipment used to track and map the home range of the endangered Amur Tiger.
- Bioengineering (Grades 6-12)
In this special zoo class, explore how the Minnesota Zoo is using genetics to save the threatened Moose by ‘engineering’ new generations through careful selective breeding and species survival plans (SSP’s). Explore the future of wildlife conservation and try your hand at creating new generations of moose while considering constraints such as maximizing disease resistance and maintaining genetic diversity.
Learn more about Zoo Classes.
Registration for field trips for the 2019-2020 school year will begin on August 1, 2019.
It’s true! People use math every day, and the keepers and scientists at the zoo are no exception! The Minnesota Zoo Math Days have been designed to inspire students grades 3th-8th to learn more about math applications in the workplace. Through hands on activity stations, students will answer grade appropriate math problems related to a wide variety of animal issues such as water quality, animal diets and health, and wildlife conservation.
- Wednesday, November 4, 2020 – Elementary and Middle school students (3rd-8th grade) 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
- Thursday, November 5-Friday, November 6, 2020 – Middle school students (6th-8th grade) 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
*1500 students per day maximum. Register early to reserve the date of your choice!
For more information on Math Day, visit here.
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.
- STEM Trek: 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.
To find a complete list of teacher resources, visit here.
ZOOMS is Sponsored By
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
J.A. Wedum Foundation
For further questions regarding STEM programming at the Minnesota Zoo, please contact [email protected].