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Classroom Kits

Check out teacher-friendly science kits!

San Diego-area teachers can check out three different suitcase kits full of entertaining and thought-provoking hands-on activities. The kits are available for a nominal fee for periods of two weeks. Their flexible lesson plan allows teachers to include as many lessons as they want, in any order.

Each kit has 7 separate lessons, each of which lasts approximately 45–60 minutes, with optional extenders. The kits, which are available for every grade K–12, contain:

  • Topic overview, lesson plans, and the parts necessary for the hands-on activities.
  • Materials aligned with the Science Framework for California Public Schools, the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and the National Science Education Standards.
  • Curriculum content areas that include math, art, language arts, social studies, physical education, and science.

How it works

  • Kits are loaned for two full weeks.
  • Check in/out dates are every Thursday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., at the Zoo.
  • Advance reservations are necessary.
  • Each kit comes in a sturdy rolling suitcase that makes transportation to your car and your classroom convenient.
  • Teachers pay $5 for use of the kit for two weeks. (A deposit of $150 is required and is fully refunded when the kit has been checked after its return to confirm that there is no damage or loss.)

How to reserve a kit

Classroom kits are hot items, so call to reserve yours today. Please note that all three kits are challenging for the suggested grade levels.
San Diego Zoo 619-557-3962 or 557-3963

Kit 1 - Animal Adaptations (grades K–3)

  • Theme—Animals must find innovative ways to survive in the wild. Elephants use their prehensile trunks to move objects, jaguars use their tails to help them balance, and mountain goats use their coloring to blend into the surrounding habitat. This kit makes use of seven lessons on birds, reptiles, and mammals to illustrate how animals are adapted to their environments.
  • Skills Tested—Language arts, science ability, artistic skills, mathematics, and physical education

Lesson Material

  • Elephants—A language-based activity in which students create their own elephant using their acquired knowledge of elephant adaptations.
  • Sun Up, Sun Down—Students learn the concept of “diurnal” and “nocturnal” by playing the “AM/PM” game.
  • Beastly Adaptations—Students apply their knowledge of different species’ similarities and differences and construct a book of adaptations shared by the species.
  • Adaptation Bingo—Traditional board game and group art project teach students about adaptations.
  • Concentrating on Tails—Students play a version of concentration and create their own art to learn about animal tails.
  • Move It—Students act out and answer questions about different adaptations.
  • The Nose Knows—Students play a game about scent-based adaptations.

Kit 2 - Habitats (grades 3–6)

  • Theme—Animals can be found throughout vastly different habitats all over the world. From the frozen desert of Antarctica to the hot box of the African veldt, animals turn up in every imaginable location. This kit contains seven different lessons which explore these habitats and the way the habitats affect the animals that inhabit them.
  • Skills Tested—Language arts, science ability, artistic skills, mathematics, social studies, and research skills

Lesson Material

  • Dragon Island—Student learn about the giant lizards and their habitat while creating their own life-size komodo dragon in an whole class activity based on kinesthetic learning.
  • Tree of Life—Through literature and a writing project students learn about tropical rain forests.
  • Desert Derby Debate—Students argue the pros and cons of human activity in the desert.
  • Mountain Mystery—Students learn the ins and outs of the forest habitat by tackling a fascinating logic problem.
  • Design-A-Sign—Students research an animal and its habitat, then create an informative sign.
  • Chain Reaction—Students explore the concept of the food chain, and how the animals are interdependent within a habitat.
  • Where in the World—Students discover habitat locations, then create their own with index cards and tongue depressors.

Kit 3 - The Cutting Edge (grades 6–12)

  • Theme—The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have long been known for their innovative methods and enclosures for housing animals. Today, the Zoo and Safari Park employ high-tech methods to remain on the forefront of zoological conservation. This kit contains seven lessons which explain endangered species research and our efforts to save many species and habitats from extinction.
  • Skills Tested—Scientific ability, artistic skills, language arts, and mathematics

Lesson Material

  • Condor Capers—Students study the challenges of captive breeding and reintroduction into native habitat, then create posters designed to educate the public, based on their knowledge.
  • Karen’s Heart—Small groups read and discuss medical concerns regarding endangered species.
  • Medical Mystery—Classes solve a mystery to discover the process of aiding the reproduction of endangered species.
  • The Dating Game—Classes take the role of a keeper caring for an animal involved in the Species Survival Plan, as they learn about the captive management of endangered species.
  • Genetic Shakeout—Students “design an animal” based on the lesson about heredity and genetics.
  • Habitat Corridors—This project allows students to discover the complications of forest fragmentation.
  • Zoo Trader—Teams role-play and get an in-depth look at the way fellow conservation organizations must cooperate to protect endangered species.
Questions? For Education programs for children, adults and families, or any school related programs, please call Zoo Education: 619-557-3962
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