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Secondary

Book a FREE* activity for your students 

Sessions are 45 minutes unless otherwise stated.
Sessions work best with 30 or fewer pupils, but unless otherwise stated, we can accommodate more if necessary.

Available Sessions:

Click on an education session for more details including curriculum links.
An educational visit to the zoo will assist you in the teaching of ‘British Values’ and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. (SMSC)

If none of these talks suit your needs, please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511 or 01206332512 or email education@colchesterzoo.org.
Alternatively, our Q&A Session provides your students with the opportunity to ask zoo questions on any topic. This session is ideal for students who are required to gather specific information for completing mock assessment, portfolios, workbooks, etc.

Our sessions are limited in availability and very popular, especially during summer term.
Please book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.
Please arrive for your session on time; if you miss a considerable portion of your allotted time slot, your session may need to be altered or potentially cancelled.

*Unfortunately, due to an increase in schools booking sessions and not attending them, we have sometimes been unable to offer sessions to schools who request them. For this reason, Colchester Zoo reserves the right to charge a £20 fee for all educational sessions which are booked but not attended either due to last minute cancellation (less than 1 week notice), or not attending on the day without a valid reason. If you attend the session they are free of charge. The charge only applies to non-attended and/or late cancellations.


Detailed Session Descriptions:


Adaptations Talk KS3 or KS4

What specific adaptations do animals have? Students will learn about structural, physiological, and behavioural adaptations. Volunteers are dressed in costumes and the group will discuss the benefits of their adaptations. For lower groups, this is then elaborated on by exploring some of the key adaptions of predator/prey animals and animals living in hot/cold habitats. Higher groups focus entirely on hot/cold habitat adaptations with a focus on homeostasis, including enzyme functions.

Click for National Curriculum links


Animal Behaviour Workshop – Biology Focus - KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes, and for a maximum of 20 students.
Students discover why we study animal behaviour at Colchester Zoo. As a group, students will learn how to observe, record and interpret animal behaviours. Students practice identifying behaviours of live animals and learn the difference between innate and learned behaviours. Using this knowledge, students carry out a behavioural study. They enter this data into ethograms which will be analysed by the entire group.

Click for National Curriculum links


Animal Behaviour Workshop – Psychology Focus - KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes, and for a maximum of 20 students.
Students discover the basics of animal behaviour. As a starting point, students learn the difference between innate and learned behaviour. This leads into the theories of classical and operant condition and the different types of operant conditioning. Building on that, students discover how animal training is a form of operant conditioning.

Click for National Curriculum links


Art at the Zoo KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is for a maximum of 30 students.

This session opens with a brief introduction to Colchester Zoo and how we use art. Then students have the opportunity to sketch, draw, or photograph from a variety of still life resources, including: furs, skins, skulls, feathers, and more. These resources allow students to get up close and pay attention to textures, patterns, shape, and structure.
Students attending this session must bring their own dry drawing materials, sketchbooks, cameras, etc. Art materials will not be provided.

Click for National Curriculum links


Classification Talk KS3 or KS4

After discovering why we classify things, students will learn how modern classification and binomial nomenclature developed.  Following this, students get the chance to guess what characteristics define animals in different phyla, with particular focus on the five main vertebrate groups. After going through the other levels of organisation, students learn about what makes a species a species.

Click for National Curriculum links

If you would like students to get the chance to see animal artefacts up close, and practice classifying animals based on their hands-on observations, book the Classification Workshop.


Classification Workshop KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes, and for a maximum of 40 students.
Students learn why we classify thing and how modern classification and binomial nomenclature developed. Students then learn the key characteristics which define different animal phyla, with particular focus on the five main vertebrate groups.  Using this knowledge, students examine real animal artefacts (skins, skulls, etc.) and practice classifying them based on their visual characteristics.  After classifying the artefacts, students will also have the chance to examine them looking for individual variation, and guessing at the cause of the variation.

Click for National Curriculum links


Enclosure Design Workshop KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes, and for a maximum of 40 students.
Students will learn all about creating appropriate enclosures for zoo animals.  Using examples from the zoo, pupils learn how enclosure design must meet the needs of the keepers, animals, and public visitors. Using this knowledge, pupils critique a current enclosure at the zoo through first hand observation.  Then pupils have the chance to design their own enclosure and share their design with the group.

Click for National Curriculum links


English – Debating Skills KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is for a maximum of 40 students.
Spoken English, including formal debates and structured discussions are key components of the English curriculum. At Colchester Zoo we recognise that zoos are an often debated topic. In this session, students are introduced to key debating terms and practice their speaking and listening skills. Through a series of debating games students learn the concepts of agreement, disagreement, and persuasive speaking. After the session, students are provided with worksheets for them to record first-hand observations about the pros and cons of the zoo. At the end of the session, teachers are provided with our detailed ‘Zoo Debate’ lesson plan, which includes two critical reading exercises. These classroom activities, in conjunction with the worksheets students complete at the zoo, culminate in a classroom debate about the purpose and benefit of zoos.

Click for National Curriculum links


Enrichment Workshop KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes for a maximum of 40 students.
Students learn how we keep our animals entertained. The problems of stereotypical behaviour (abnormal behaviour) and boredom in captive animals is examined. After that, students will get the chance to get hands-on and make some enrichment.  After it's made, the enrichment will be placed in with the animals and students will get the chance to watch the animals interacting with the things they have made.


Maths Session KS3

Please note this session is for a maximum of 30 students.
Students work in small groups practicing real world hands-on maths skills. Groups rotate around different stations with animal artefacts, animal diets and even live animals. At each station, students work together to solve a maths problem including designing enclosures, calculating medicine dosages, measuring speeds, and converting currencies.

Click for National Curriculum links

Primates and Us Session KS3 and KS4

Students will discover how diverse primates are, why they are amazing, what the zoo is doing and what they can do to help save primates. The group will investigate the evolutionary story of primates - included in this are the differences between primate species with a focus on the four main groups of primates: posimian (lemurs, etc.), new world monkeys, old world monkeys, and apes. With this knowledge students will better understand why primates are worth saving from the many threats primates face in the wild. The session ends with a discussion about what the zoo is doing to help, and what each student can personally do to help save primates. The entire session uses props and artefacts to help reinforce learning.

Click for National Curriculum links

Q & A Session KS3 and KS4

Please note this session is for a maximum of 50 students.
This session is a bookable timeslot for your students to ask Colchester Zoo staff questions.  Zoo staff are prepared to answer questions on a wide range of topics including how we use science at Colchester Zoo, how we meet the needs of our customers, health and safety concerns of a zoo, case study examples of our conservation projects around the world, or a focus on any other topic.

This session is ideal for students who are required to gather specific information for completing mock assessment, portfolios, workbooks, etc.

Students attending this session MUST come prepared with a list of question to ask the speaker.


Saving Endangered Species Talk KS3 or KS4

Many animals are endangered and threatened with extinction. In this session, students will learn about the major threats facing endangered animals: habitat loss, over use, pollution, and for older students, invasive species and poaching. Students will get the chance to see real animal artefacts up close, and learn some of the shocking facts about endangered species. These problems are contrasted with positive actions students can take to help endangered animals, with a specific focus on product labelling and how to make smart consumer choices.

Click for National Curriculum links

This talk focuses on the specific issues causing endangered species and what people can do to help. If you would like a focus specifically on poaching and the illegal wildlife trade book the Wildlife Forensics Workshop.


The Role of Zoos Talk KS3 or KS4

What do zoos do, and why?  Students learn the main goals of a modern zoo. Based on these goals, students can consider their own opinions about zoos while discovering how zoos play vital roles in conservation. Colchester Zoo’s contributions to in-situ and ex-situ conservation will be discussed using specific case studies.

Click for National Curriculum links


Wildlife Forensics Workshop KS3 or KS4

Please note this session is 90 minutes, and for a maximum of 40 students.
Students explore the issues of illegal wildlife crime, learning about the problems of hunting, poaching, pets, souvenirs, medicine, and bushmeat. While examining real, seized artefacts of the illegal wildlife trade, students learn how organisations are helping to stop these crimes by identifying criminals and identifying the animal victims. Some of the methods, such as finger print analysis and firearm analysis may be familiar, but students will also get to try feather identification, and skull identification as well as learning about DNA analysis for species and parentage. Students will leave with new science skills and an appreciation of the threat caused by wildlife crime.

Click for National Curriculum links

This workshop focuses on the illegal wildlife trade including poaching. If you would like a more general talk on the many other reasons for endangered species, and human actions to help endangered species, book the Saving Endangered Species Talk.


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OPENING TIMES

Opening times: 

9.30am – 5.00pm or dusk if earlier*

*Last admission 4.00pm

upcoming events
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