Study, Visit and Create a Zoo!

14 Diamond Project

Located at the Gatos Theater


In this project, you are going to choose a zoo animal to study. After doing some research on the animal of your choice and learning about how to take notes, you are going to do some first-hand research by visiting a zoo. Then you are going to create a 1-3 minute informational video about what you learned including photos (or even videos) of your zoo trip. Finally, you are going to create a zoo in Montessori City.


To begin with, you are going to choose a zoo animal that you particularly would like to study. You also want to check to see that the animal you pick is at your local zoo, since for this project you will be visiting the zoo to see your animal. For instance, my local zoo has hundreds of animals but no polar bears, so I would not want to pick polar bears.

Once you pick your animal, you want to either:

1. Visit your local library and get a few books on your animal. Most libraries have lots of books on most animals in the children's section. Get out 3 or 4 if you can.

2. Find some good websites on your animal. It can be harder to find websites that are written for kids than to find books, so I'd suggest finding books at the library. But if you prefer you could find some kid-friendly websites. Like here is a pretty good one on tigers, for instance:


Now before you dig into the books or website on your animal, I want you to think a bit about taking notes. There will be a lot (A LOT!) of information on the animal you choose in those books and websites. You want to pick out just the most important or interesting facts for your video report. 

First, take a look at the PowerPoint to the right about how to take notes so that you can pick out key information.

Click todownload the PowerPoint on taking notes.

Next I want you to divide your topic (animal) into 4 categories. For each category I want you to take a notecard and write the category name on the top. Choose 4 categories you are really interested in. You might have categories like...

*What my animal eats

*Where my animal lives

*All About Enemies


*What My Animal Looks Like



*Famous examples of my animal (this would only work for some animals like bears, tigers, lions, elephants, pandas)

Then I want you to read through your books and write down notes on interesting facts you find. Remember you don't have to write full sentences, just take notes as I showed you with the Barack Obama example.

For each category, I'd like you to find at least 5 facts. So you will have 20 facts (5 facts x 4 notecards) in total.

When you finish your notecards, take a photo of them together and upload the photo into your folder on Google Drive.


Next, you are going to visit the Zoo!

Of course, I understand it is not always easy to go to the zoo at the drop of a hat. (For instance, it might be very cold where you live now or the zoo might be far from you) So you might put this project aside and work on another one until the week that you have a chance to go. 

But once you have a chance to go, you want to have fun visiting the zoo but you also want to focus on researching your animal.

*One tip is that I would start your visit by immediately heading to see your animal. This way if your animal is asleep or hiding you can swing back later and see if he or she has woken up! 

*You might also bring a clipboard or notebook so you can take notes on anything new you learn about your animal.

*If there is a trainer or zoo worker around who you can interview about your animal that would be awesome. Of course, it is not expected that you speak to any experts but if you can, this is great.

*I'd like you to also take lots of photos of your animal and yourself at the zoo. Take some videos too if you can. You are going to use these in Step 5.


Now you are going to create a video.

Here are the requirements for your video:

*It should be between 1 and 3 minutes long.

*It should include either you talking to the camera or your voice while the video plays.

*It should include some of the photos you took at the zoo. If you took videos that would be great to include too.

*It can also include other photos (or even videos) you found on the internet.

*It should include some of the facts that you wrote down on your notecards.

There are many different ways you could create the video. Teacher Matt can definitely help you if you need help and your family may be able to help too. 

*You could make a movie using IMovie, Movavi or another video making program

*You could make a simpler video using a photo gallery slideshow and then record your voice over it

*You could print out the photos you took and show them to the camera as you talk to the camera.

*You could put the photos on a computer and record your voice as you share your screen using a simple screenshare recorder like

It is really up to you how you want to do the video as long as you meet the requirements mentioned above.

And remember if you need help with this step, just ask Teacher Matt for help (this is a difficult task!)

When you are done, upload your video to your folder on Google Drive.


The final step is to create a zoo in Montessori City. This can be a small zoo, it does not have to be a sprawling, huge zoo like the one you may have visited. Here are the requirements:

*A zoo entrance with sign

*At least 5 animal pens/cages for different animals

*Paths that lead around the zoo between the different animal pens/cages

*At least one water-filled pen for a water-based animal/mammal (dolphin, polar bear etc)

*A snack bar

*A parking lot area

Be ready to present your zoo to Teacher Matt


*Read the powerpoint on taking notes

*Create notecards with 4 categories on your topic

*Using books or websites, write down notes for at least 5 facts in each of the 4 categories

*Visit the zoo and take photos and videos. Talk to an expert if you are able to...

*Create your video while meeting the requirements above

*Create a zoo in Montessori City meeting the requirements above


*Teacher Matt is grading out of a possible 14  Diamonds for Excellent Work for this project.