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Dec 14, 2007

Summer Science School

Summer Science School from RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo  
Training people to look after animals 

A 5 day course for 15-16 year olds studying aspects of captive management was run for two consecutive weeks in early July 2007 and attended by 36 students. This followed on from a successful piloting of the idea in July 2006. Students were nominated by their school and funding was obtained for 30 of the places.

The aim of the week was to enable students to discover and apply science to the work of the Zoo. During the week the students worked as small teams and with a specified animal/enclosure they undertook: animal behaviour studies; designing, building and testing an enrichment device; organising the transportation of an animal; taking a faecal sample; designing an enclosure and designing interpretation. On the final day of the course each group of students gave a formal presentation upon their findings to their fellow students, parents, teachers and Zoo staff. This demonstrated the learning and knowledge gained as well as helping them to develop skills as scientific communicators.

The presentations were the main evaluation of the week’s activities. Students also completed a follow-up questionnaire, and comments were also received from the audience. The presentations were of high quality, and the reporting of the work clearly demonstrated the success of this project for the individuals concerned.

Additionally, the fact City of Edinburgh and some of the schools paid the £100 per student and want us to continue this programme, demonstrates that it is considered to be a valuable contribution to science education. 

Developed by:  RZSS - Edinburgh Zoo

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