Zoo Project

Driving Question

How can you design a zoo that is good for animals and attractive to visitors?
Grades Involved


What PBE Principles were highlighted in this project?

Community as Classroom, Design Thinking, Inquiry-Based, Interdisciplinary, Learner-Centered, Local to Global

Project Description

This year 3rd grade has worked on an interdisciplinary year-long project to design a zoo that incorporated many of the 3rd-grade skills they have learned throughout the year. Using backward planning, the third-grade students designed their own zoos, including physical space, animals, marketing and brochures, etc., and then visit the Greenville zoo overnight and finally have an exhibit of their zoo models. This project used math in the zoo design, research and writing about animals, read-aloud comprehension with the book The One and Only Ivan, and design thinking which included interviewing other students about what they would want in a zoo.

One of the culminating activities was our overnight at the zoo. However, we started remote learning the week we were supposed to go on our trip. The students created 3D habitats as part of science during remote learning. We were supposed to have a grand opening on April 9th at school. However, with the restrictions in place in our state, we were unable to have our in-person event. We have decided to showcase all of their hard work on a virtual Grand Opening website instead. We also organized a Zoo Zoom learning experience for the students with the Greenville Zoo.

 How did this positively impact community? How was it shared?

The students are going to attend a Zoom meeting wearing their zoo shirts and get to experience zoo animals, zookeeper talks, and more. Then they will see the movies of their zoos before they go live on the website for our Summit Family to enjoy!


Our biggest challenge in this project was shifting end-of-the-year plans to virtual learning. See above for adaptations.

Words of Wisdom

The third grade used a project board timeline to track the different learning outcomes and assignments which made the learning visible.