In Role of the Modern Zoo students explore how zoos have changed over the last two centuries and what their place is in modern society. Using Whipsnade Zoo as a case study, they will discover how zoos are working to protect wildlife all around the world and bring species back from the brink of extinction. They will see how this purpose shapes the key activities that zoos engage in, including public engagement, scientific research, conservation breeding programmes and wildlife reintroductions, and will try their hand at a number of key decisions that are made within these areas. 

Age: KS4 (14 - 16 years)  Duration: 50 minutes Capacity: 35 students Indoor Session


Intended learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Gain an understanding of how zoos work to conserve endangered species through scientific research; captive breeding programmes; reintroduction programmes and education
  • Identify different biological methods that zoos use to help conserve animals and their habitats
  • Explain why different species may be housed in zoos
  • Outline the different factors that need to be considered when running a breeding programme, including an animals family tree and its health history


Online Resources:

Support your students' learning before, during and after their visit with our Online Teaching Resources

AQA GCSE Biology (8461) Specification Links
4.7.3 Biodiversity and the effect of human interaction on ecosystems Biodiversity
  • Biodiversity is the variety of all the different species of organisms on earth, or within an ecosystem.
  • A great biodiversity ensures the stability of ecosystems by reducing the dependence of one species on another for food, shelter and the maintenance of the physical environment.
  • The future of the human species on Earth relies on us maintaining a good level of biodiversity. Many human activities are reducing biodiversity and only recently have measures been taken to try to stop this reduction. Maintaining biodiversity
  • Students should be able to describe both positive and negative human interactions in an ecosystem and explain their impact on biodiversity.
  • Scientists and concerned citizens have put in place programmes to reduce the negative effects of humans on ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • These include:
    • breeding programmes for endangered species
    • protection and regeneration of rare habitats
OCR GCSE (9-1) Gateway Science Biology A Specification links
Topic B6: Global challenges B6.1 Monitoring and maintaining the environment
  • B6.1b describe both positive and negative human interactions within ecosystems and explain their impact on biodiversity
  • B6.1c explain some of the benefits and challenges of maintaining local and global biodiversity
Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Biology Specification Links
Topic 9 – Ecosystems and material cycles
  • 9.1 Describe the different levels of organisation from individual organisms, populations, communities, to the whole ecosystem
  • 9.3 Describe the importance of interdependence in a community