You at the Zoo resources have been created to get students excited about the life sciences and the inquiry process. The collection of nine student videos, teacher professional development videos, lessons and resources are designed to address Life Science Standards for grades 3-8 while modeling the scientific inquiry process. A brief description of the video and the corresponding Grade Level Indicator are included with each streaming video.

Helping Hands

In this video, third-grade students are introduced to the scientific inquiry process while learning more about primates and their special adaptations like opposable thumbs. Then the You at the Zoo student team follows the inquiry approach to determine if primates are more likely to be right-handed or left-handed.

Doing Scientific Inquiry
5. Record and organize observations (e.g., journals, charts and tables).
6. Communicate scientific findings to others through a variety of methods (e.g., pictures, written, oral and recorded observations).

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To be a bird

In this video, third-grade students learn about animal classification and what characteristics make a bird a bird. After learning about some of the special features of birds, the You at the Zoo student team investigates the special attributes of two very different bird species.

Diversity and Interdependence of Life
3. Classify animals according to their characteristics (e.g., body coverings and body structure).

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In this video, fourth-grade students learn about plant structures and how certain adaptations help plants survive. After learning about plant defense mechanisms, the You at the Zoo student team makes predictions about what might happen when they touch a sensitive plant with a feather versus a finger.

Diversity and Interdependence of Life
2. Relate plant structures to their specific functions (e.g., growth, survival and reproduction).
3. Classify common plants according to their characteristics (e.g., tree leaves, flowers, seeds, roots and stems).

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Wild Partnerships

In this video, fourth-grade students learn about a unique, mutually-beneficial partnership between leafcutter ants and the fungus they cultivate for food. The You at the Zoo team then uses the inquiry process to make predictions and test their hypothesis about which ants travel faster –those carrying leaves, and those without.

Diversity and Interdependence of Life
8. Describe how organisms may interact with one another.

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survival on the Savanna

In this video, fifth-grade students meet the world’s fastest Cheetah, Sarah, and learn how Cheetahs have adapted to survive in their Savanna habitat. Then, the You at the Zoo team follows the inquiry process to make predictions and determine how fast they can sprint the Cheetah run.

Diversity and Interdependence of Life
5. Support how an organism’s patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism’s ecosystem, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the changing physical characteristics of the ecosystem.

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Ecosystem Changes

In this video, fifth-grade students learn about the differences between Asian and African Elephants and how elephants make a dramatic impact on their ecosystems. After learning about Elephants as “landscape architects,” the You at the Zoo student team follows the inquiry process to investigate the different tasks of elephant’s trunks.

Diversity and Interdependence of Life
6. Analyze how all organisms, including humans, cause changes in their ecosystems and how these changes can be beneficial, neutral or detrimental (e.g., beaver ponds, earthworm burrows, grasshoppers eating plants, people planting and cutting trees and people introducing a new species).

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The Next Generation

In this video sixth-grade students learn about what it takes to keep a species going generation after generation through reproduction. Students also learn about the zoo’s Species Survival Plan and the zoo’s efforts to save endangered animals from extinction. Then the You at the Zoo team follows the inquiry process to identify tigers by their unique characteristics.

4. Recognize that an individual organism does not live forever; therefore reproduction is necessary for the continuation of every species and traits are passed on to the next generation through reproduction.

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Variety is Valuable

In this video seventh-grade students learn about biodiversity and the variety of life contributing to over ten million animal species on the planet. Students then learn about diverse animal body plans by taking a closer look at the unique inhabitants of the Florida wetlands— the manatee, alligator, and alligator gar. The You at the Zoo team wraps up by investigating whether manatees are more likely to spend more time at the surface or bottom of their wetland home.

1. Investigate the great variety of body plans and internal structures found in multicellular organisms.

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Uncommon Traits

In this video eighth-grade students learn more about sexual reproduction and how both parents contribute traits to their offspring. Students then learn more about the zoo’s rhino conservation program and meet Indian rhino Nikki as she undergoes an ultrasound to monitor the health of her pregnancy.

Genetic Diversity
2. Recognize that in sexual reproduction new combinations of traits are produced which may increase or decrease an organism’s chances for survival.

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