ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge

The ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge presented by Flint Hills Resources offers students a chance to develop a solution to a ‘real’ problem faced by Zookeepers 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!

See the ZOOMS Design Challenge in Action!

2022-2023 ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge

If you are a grade 3-12 teacher looking for ways to engage your students in authentic integrated STEM, join the ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge presented by Flint Hills Resources for the 2002-2023 school year! Participation is completely free! Sign up your class to participate by clicking the ‘Register Now!’ link below by Friday November 18th.

To learn more about the ZOOMS design challenge options, view the Enrichment and Exhibit Design Challenge Guidelines below.

Free ZOOMS Challenge Teacher Workshop Training

Registered teachers will receive access to a free Zoo training (virtual and in person option), design challenge supporting curriculum resources for both in person and digital learning, and ongoing implementation support throughout the school year from Zoo education staff. CEU’s will be offered to all participating teachers. You will have the opportunity to sign up for the training date of your choice when you register for the design challenge below.

In Person Training at the Minnesota Zoo
September 29, 2022 from 9 am-3 pm

Virtual Training on Zoom Platform
October 1, 2022 from 9 am-12 pm
*A recording of this training will be shared with teachers that are unable to attend

Registration for the school year is now closed. Be sure to check back in May 2023 to sign up for the 2023-2024 ZOOMS Design Challenge!

Malayan Tapir Enrichment Design Challenge

Level 1: 3rd – 5th Grade
Level 2: 6th – 8th Grade
Level 3: 9th – 12th Grade

Develop an innovative enrichment for the Minnesota Zoo’s Malayan Tapirs

The Minnesota Zoo is known for its expertise when it comes to caring for and managing the Zoo’s three Malayan tapirs. Bertie (female) has successfully birthed several tapir calves, including 4-year-old female Indah and 2.5 year old male Tuah, who is is now roaming the habitat separate from his mom. Due to the unique needs of these nocturnal and highly tactile animals, they often must alternate their time with one another on the habitat which requires consideration of logistics and a higher level of creativity when planning enrichments.

Therefore, Zookeepers are looking for enrichment ideas that help keep the Malayan tapirs engaged and curious in both on and off exhibit spaces while also encouraging natural behaviors such as swimming and foraging with their prehensile trunk. By helping to provide optimal care through tailored enrichment for each tapir, the Zoo ultimately hopes to ensure Malayan tapirs as a species can thrive with continued successful tapir births in the future.

Tropical Malayan Tapir Exhibit Redesign Challenge

Level 1: 3rd – 5th Grade
Level 2: 6th – 8th Grade
Level 3: 9th – 12th Grade

Redesign the existing Malayan tapir habitat on the Tropics Trail

The endangered Malayan tapir species from Southeast Asia has been found at the Zoo since it opened in 1978. With fewer than 3,000 left in the wild, the Zoo’s commitment to conservation and care for these animals has been critical, with the successful births of 10 tapir calves!

While there have been small habitat changes in the 40+ years, exhibit planners and zookeepers are hoping this space might be reimagined to better accommodate the fluctuating numbers of tapirs in the Zoo’s care. They are also hoping a new design will provide distinct areas in the habitat offering the current three tapirs more choices for interactivity or privacy based on current challenges that exist due to their nocturnal nature, zig zag feeding behavior for browse, exhibit rotation schedule, and their swimming abilities. Similarly, due to their endangered status, the Zoo hopes to make visitors feel connected to the tapirs, learn about the threats they face in the wild, and take action to help this incredible species!

The ZOOMS STEM Design Challenge is Sponsored By

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