Learning Zoology is one thing, but truly engaging students to familiarize and understand a topic requires a unique approach. Students should be able to ask questions like- How are different organisms classified? Or how do their habitats affect their characteristics? We will be equipped to support and nurture this curiosity if we put a little effort into introducing the subject.
Zoology is a branch of biological sciences that deals with the animal kingdom, its classification, distribution, behavioural studies, habitats, etc. You can include zoology into a high school student’s learning environment through games and activities. Before allowing students to perform these projects and activities, it is important to introduce and explain zoology-related topics. But, these activities can also be great for students to grasp and get a hold of various concepts of this subject. Also, it’s a good head start to have some practical aspects of what you’ll be dealing with before if going to a summer internship in the field.
In this post, we will dig deeper and understand why these activities would play a crucial part in the comprehension and retention of zoological concepts, along with our top zoology activities for high school students.
Zoology Activities: What is in it for Students?
We can include activities and games into our teaching plan, whether at home or within the classroom. Introducing this subject will help students grasp concepts better academically and aid in the development of many other crucial skills.
Here are some of the ways students can take benefit of these activities:
- They can better understand the cycle of life and how one thing affects another.
- Students can learn about the variations and diverse fauna that exist in different parts of the world.
- They develop better teamwork and communication skills as they socialise more with their peers.
- Children’s natural curiosity towards the environment and its biodiversity will be amplified as they progress through these activities.
- It boosts their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Educational Zoology Activities For High School Students
1. Mussel Identification Activity
This activity created by Illinois State Museum requires interested students to study the various characteristics such as anatomy, habitat, and life cycle of mussels. The activity requires a flash plugin on your computer which can be downloaded for free. The activity requires students to identify the different types of mussels that exist based on their shells once they finish their lesson.
Through this activity, they will be able to learn the importance of protecting biodiversity and notice the beauty of often underrated gems of the animal kingdom. You can also use this activity to teach them to classify animals they find into different types across many other species.
2. Endangered Species Case Study
One of the most exciting topics that we may come across while studying zoology is that of extinct and endangered animals. From a very young age, kids have a fascination for dinosaurs and dodo birds, and this enthusiasm is sure to carry on into their high school years. Assign each student with an animal that may be extinct or endangered and provide them with a week to compile all their finding of the cause for their endangerment/ extinction. Once they have done so, ask them to present their findings in class in the form of a presentation.
If you wish to go a further mile, students can also hold an exhibition where they can explain their findings with the help of models and charts. Discuss the importance of the study of animal life through this activity and do not forget to compliment your students on their findings.
3. Visit a Wildlife Conservation Spot
A creative way to introduce the study of animal habitats and the importance of conserving these natural spaces can be taught through this activity. Teachers and parents can collaborate to take the students on a day trip to nearby wildlife conservation spots or zoos.
This activity can be planned in advance and can provide a great way for high school students to learn about the natural environment first hand. Students may be requested to take photographs, collect samples and talk with people who are engaged in the conservation project. You can also give them a fun quiz once you are back in class. This activity can be used as a reference to teach further about animals and their habitats, migration, behaviours, and so on.
4. Climate Change Board Game
In this board game, you can play as different animal species in a world that is divided into four habitats based on the average temperature and precipitation. In the battle for the survival of the fittest, one must find a way to avoid being extinct.
The game requires you to download printables from the website.
Ensure that you divide your students into groups while playing the game. Use this game to introduce topics such as biodiversity, climate change, evolution, habitat change, wildlife conservation, and more.
5. Protective Coloration in Butterflies and Moths Activity
Students may be encouraged to do this activity in groups of five to ten on their own. This activity will form the premise for students to learn about the need for survival-based adaptations that gives some creatures an evolutionary advantage over others. This activity guides students to create their own coloration on butterflies and moths using graphics. Students can then move their designs across different backgrounds to assess if they properly camouflage or can be easily spotted by a potential predator.
Use this experiment as the premise to discuss the important physical traits and their function in protecting prey animals in the animal kingdom. You can also use this activity to discuss predators may use different methods to attract their prey like how plants sometimes use a sweet fragrance to lure in insects to be their prey. The reasons for the appearance of different creatures and their study can be explained well using this activity.
We as humans are yet to unravel the true secrets that our environment on earth has to offer. Only a little push in the right direction is needed to spark the natural wonder in students towards this planet’s diverse flora and fauna. Have fun engaging in these activities, and let us know about your new findings and discoveries in the comments below!