The Kansas City Zoo, in collaboration with UMKC’s Charter School Center and the School of Education’s Continuing and Professional Education, has introduced its ZooED curriculum to all nine School of Education sponsored charter schools in preparation for the 2017-18 academic year.
One of those charter schools, University Academy (UA), trained 17 teachers, grades kindergarten to 2nd grade, on the ZooED program last month. “I like how the lessons are all tied to standards! It makes it easier to add into our curriculum when I already know what standards it ties into and how,” said Lauren Miller, second grade teacher at UA. “I also like the books that were chosen. They are a great mixture of fiction and non-fiction, as well as interesting to the kids.”
In the first part of the program the students will Meet the Animal, which can introduce students to up to 26 different animals. The lessons are all based on Math, Language Arts, and College and Career Readiness Standards, with geography, science, art and poetry as additional elements to the curriculum. There has been immediate engagement from the students. “I have students asking to read the provided books during independent reading time,” said Ruth Godwin, first grade teacher at UA. They love sharing the information with the class.”
Another benefit to the ZooED program is the development of a community partnership. “Some of our kids do not get the experience of places such as the Zoo,” explained Miller. “This, as well as other programs, enables them to go to places they might not get to otherwise.”
The second part of the program, Manage the Animal, is recommended for grades 4-6. In this project-based part, students will learn about zoo careers and take on the roles of zookeepers, veterinarians, nutritionists and educators. For the third part of the program, Maintain the Animal, students will learn about the role of genetics in animal conservation. This portion is recommended for grades 8 and up.
For more information on the ZooED program, how to become a ZooED teacher or to schedule ZooED curriculum training for your charter school, visit the KC Zoo website.