ZooED | Kansas City Zoo


ZooED is a flexible curriculum program that combines conservation education with College and Career Readiness and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). ZooED teachers receive lesson plans, classroom books and materials, a Zoo field trip and a visit from the Zoomobile, all of which are aligned with standards for English, Math, Social Studies and Science. Funded entirely by the Zoological Tax District, ZooED is completely free for all teachers in Jackson and Clay counties. At this time ZooED is only available to teachers in the Zoological District.

Early Elementary –  Meet the [Animal]

Designed to align with standards for second grade, Meet the [animal] introduces students to 26 animals that live at the Kansas City Zoo. Students explore animals through ELA and math activities and participate in experiments and hands-on learning to discover how polar bears stay warm, how baby bats find their mothers, and why gibbons have opposable thumbs on their feet, among other things. Meet the [animal] addresses essential questions like “How do humans and animals depend on each other?” “What kinds of differences and similarities can be seen across the animal kingdom?” and “What connections are there between an animal’s appearance, lifestyle, and habitat?” Recommended for grades 1-3.

Upper Elementary – Manage the [Animal]

Aligned with standards for fourth grade, Manage the [animal] is a project-based learning experience in which students learn about zoo careers and take on the roles of zookeepers, veterinarians, nutritionists, and educators. Student teams learn what it takes to feed, care for, create a habitat, and teach others about one of 7 zoo animals. Resources include nonfiction books, videos of real Kansas City Zoo professionals talking about their jobs and career paths, actual data about Kansas City Zoo’s animals, and more. Manage the [animal] addresses essential questions like “What is the purpose of zoos and conservation institutions?” “What do animals need?” and “What kinds of careers work with animals, how do I get there?” Recommended for grades 4-6.

Secondary – Maintain the [Animal] 

Aligned with standards for eighth grade and above, Maintain the [animal] is a project-based learning experience that turns secondary students into conservationists. Students study the work of famous geneticists and conservationists like Gregor Mendel, Jane Goodall, and Stephen O’Brien, and learn about the role of genetics in animal conservation. Student teams research one of 6 species in the Kansas City Zoo’s collection to develop a Studbook with breeding recommendations, just like the ones used by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Students synthesize their work in a conservation documentary filmed onsite at the Zoo. Recommended for grades 8+.

Become A ZooED Teacher

To start exploring ZooED with your students, attend a short training session to learn how to incorporate the curriculum into your classroom and receive your materials. Private ZooED Trainings are also available at your school or professional development day. Call or email the ZooED Staff at 816-595-1771 or ZooED@fotzkc.org to sign up for a class or schedule a private training.

Over 10,600 students are learning with ZooED this year – make your class a ZooED class, too!

Spring 2017 Training Classes:

All trainings are at 5 pm at the Zoo Learning Center.

Early Elementary Training: Meet the [animal] 

  • Tuesday, February 7
  • Thursday, March 9
  • Wednesday, April 5
  • Tuesday, May 9

Upper Elementary Training: Manage the [animal]

  • Wednesday, February 8
  • Tuesday, March 7
  • Thursday, April 6
  • Wednesday, May 10

Secondary Training: Maintain the [animal]

  • Thursday, February 9
  • Wednesday, March 8
  • Tuesday, April 4
  • Thursday, May 11


ZooED Rocks- Hand drawn picture of lion

“The excitement in my class was AMAZING…after doing the lessons in the ZooED booklet, we were off and running, collecting all kinds of information from books we had available and then the internet. One mother said her daughter begs her to let her stay up later to look on the internet for information we have discussed.” – Joan Peluso, Teacher, Kellybrook Elementary

“The teachers can’t say enough about the program….We like the curriculum because we are taking advantage of a quality resource that is local and is also meaningful to our students.” Michelle Schmitz, Principal, Shoal Creek Elementary

“The best part of the lesson was everything!” –Mackenzie, 2nd Grade