Conservation Classroom

K-5 virtual school programs
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New in 2022! Conservation Classroom is a collection of monthly lessons for K-5 students. Each lesson has four elements: wonder, engage, act, and connect. 

  1. Wonder: Pre-program videos that introduce the monthly topic.
  2. Engage: Live, 45-minute virtual program with a Zoo educator. 
  3. Act: Synchronous and asynchronous activities to extend the lesson.
  4. Connect: Videos that connect students to staff with "unZOOsual" careers. 

Programs and materials support Next Generation Science Standards. Many live programs include views of the Zoo’s animals, but seeing animals is never guaranteed. These public programs are designed for a variety of students to join and learn together, from small groups and home-school students to large groups or schools. Programs take place on Zoom in webinar format. In this format, audio and video is disabled but students can actively participate using polls, Q&A and chat. Visit the webinars page for archives of past programs.

December: Suited for Survival

From camouflaging foxes to armored armadillos, learn how unique adaptations help animals survive. This live, interactive virtual program is free and includes live captioning and ASL interpretation.

Grades: K-5

Standards:  Supports NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1

armadillo, magnifying glass, and question mark decorative silhouette

Wonder

Check back soon for December's "I Wonder" video.

small armadillo with a pale tan coloration

Engage

December 7 at 1 p.m. EST

In this free, live, interactive program, students will learn about adaptations and how they help animals thrive. Program includes live captioning and ASL interpretation.

Grades: K-5

Standards:  Supports NGSS  K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1

Register

frog, recycling, and exclamation point decorative sihouettes

Act

Check back soon for activities related to December's program.

Elephant, heart, and checkmark decorative silhouettes

Connect

Check back soon for December's career connection video.

Plan Ahead: Future Programs

Join us each month during the school year for a different animal topic. See the Virtual Programs Calendar to register.

  • December: Suited for Survival, Wednesday, December 7 at 1pm
  • January: Migration Pitstops, Wednesday, January 18 at 2pm

  • February: Remarkable Reptiles, Wednesday, February 15 at 1pm

  • March: Rainforest Walk, Wednesday March 15 at 10am 

  • April: Saving Endangered Species, Wednesday, April 19 at 10am 

  • May: Exploring Neighborhood Birds, Wednesday, May 10, 11am 

Register Now!

Questions?

Contact the Zoo's Center for Learning Innovation at nzp-education@si.edu.

Past Programs

Aquatic Animal Adventures

From ponds to the ocean, explore aquatic habitats and the animals along the Zoo's American Trail that call them home. 

Grades: K-5

Standards:  Supports NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, 1-LS1-2, 2-LS4-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-3, 4-LS1-1

Still from wonder video with a zoo educator thinking "I wonder about aquatic mammals"

Wonder

I wonder... how are aquatic mammals so good at living in and around water? Bring your curiosity along on an adventure to learn about aquatic habitats and aquatic mammal adaptations. 

Watch now!

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Engage

Air Date: October 18 at 2 p.m. EDT

In this month's program, we met aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals at the Zoo and learned about their unique adaptations for living in water. Recording includes closed captions and ASL.

Watch the Recording

Preview of activity sheets will frog and recycling icons

Act

During or after the live program, check students' knowledge on aquatic adaptations in a quick matching activity (K-1). Then, create your own aquatic superhero (K-5) and send your drawings to us at nzp-education@si.edu.

Aquatic Adaptations Activity Aquatic Superhero Activity

Still from career connection video with a zoo educator wearing protective earwear

Connect

Meet Vivian who knows all about aquatic environments. In her "unZOOsual" career, Vivian uses biology, chemistry, engineering and technology to keep the Zoo's aquatic habitats safe for our animals! 

Watch now!

A close-up photo of a river otter with slick, wet fur, long whiskers, a rounded nose and small, round ears

Educator's Materials

Conservation Classroom: Aquatic Animal Adventures i­­s best suited for grades K-5. The full lesson consists of two videos, a live program, and two activities. Refer to the one-page Educator's Guide or Smithsonian Learning Lab collection to help teach this lesson.

Educator's Guide Learning Lab

Wild Medicine

What happens to a seal who has a toothache? How does an orangutan get a checkup? Join our team of veterinarians to explore how animals go to the doctor, just like us!

Grades: K-5

Standards:  Supports NGSS  K-LS1-1, 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1

Text "I wonder if animals go to the doctor"

Wonder

I wonder... Do animals at the Zoo go to the doctor? Bring your curiosity along on an exploration of the Zoo's animal hospital. 

Watch now!

veterinarian examining the eyes of a cheetah cub

Engage

Air Date: November 9 at 2 p.m. EST

In this free, live, interactive program, students will learn more about animal health while watching an animal get a check-up! Program includes live captioning, ASL interpretation and Spanish translation.

Grades: K-5

Standards:  Supports NGSS  K-LS1-1, 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1

Watch the Recording

Activity sheets screen grab

Act

During or after the live program, compare items found in a doctor's and veterinarian's office in a sorting activity. Then practice reading radiographs with an x-ray matching activity.

Wild Medicine Sorting

X-Ray Matching

Vet Drawing Activity

Career Connections illustration with elephants and a zoo educator

Connect

Meet Veterinarian, Dr. Katharine, and Veterinary Technician, Dave, whose patients include animals big and small throughout the Zoo. Their "unZOOsual" careers use biology and technology to keep animals at the Zoo heathy! 

Watch now!

Veterinarian reviewing cheetah x-ray

Educator's Materials

Conservation Classroom: Wild Medicine i­­s designed for grades K-5 but open to all. The full lesson consists of two videos, a live program, and three activities. Refer to the one-page Educator's Guide (coming soon!) or Smithsonian Learning Lab collection to help teach this lesson.

Learning Lab