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Nov 30, 2009

Darwin's Zoo

Darwin's Zoo: evaluating an education session from ZSL - London Zoo 
Darwin’s Zoo: evaluating an education session developed for Darwin’s Bicentenary Formal Learning Education sessions at ZSL  

London Zoo are usually written to meet curriculum needs or perceived demand from teachers. In the case of “Darwin’s Zoo”, the session was timed to coincide with the celebration of Darwin’s bicentenary. This submission assesses how successful the session was, in terms of how it was perceived by the teachers but also how the students’ thoughts changed before and after the session. A further objective is to determine the usefulness of Personal Meaning Mapping as an evaluation tool.

Feedback forms from teachers demonstrated that they were generally happy with the content, delivery and length of session. Most teachers felt the level was suitable for the age group, except for one who thought it was too low for their students. The teachers’ opinions on what the students would gain from the session corresponded well with the Learning Outcomes.

A novel technique, a simplified version of Personal Meaning Mapping, was trialled to assess change in students’ knowledge before and after the session. From this it was evident that knowledge of Darwin’s life increased following the session. However it was not clear from this technique whether all the Learning Outcomes were met.

Despite its limitations this is an interesting and relatively easy evaluation technique and could be applied in many situations. In this instance, it was useful to find out what the students themselves were taking away from the session, instead of what their teachers thought they were. 

Developed by:  ZSL - London Zoo  

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