Daily School Programmes

The NZG’s daily lessons are facilitated to school groups visiting the zoo from Mondays to Fridays. Schools are encouraged to book for these lessons, but many schools arrive unannounced. Lessons for learners in the Foundation and Intermediate Phases are conducted at different stations scattered throughout the zoo. Teachers are thus encouraged to guide learners through the zoo, making use of the educational lessons at the stations. As these lessons are relatively short and interactive (15 – 20 minutes) and are interspersed with viewing animals in enclosures, they are within younger learners’ attention span.

Lessons for the Senior and FET Phases are more structured. These start in the NZG’s Education Centre and are followed by further activities in the zoo. The vast majority of learners visiting the NZG are in the Foundation Phase, while the numbers of FET learners are relatively low.

The following Daily Lessons are facilitated:

PhaseThemeLengthVenue
FoundationDon’t Litter15 – 20 minMain picnic area
FoundationNational Symbols15 – 20 minSammy Marks fountain
FoundationThe Majestic Elephant15 – 20 minElephant enclosure
IntermediateDiscovering Reptiles20 minReptile Park lapa
Intermediate & Senior The Microscopic World20 minAquarium
SeniorMicro-Zooming20 minAquarium
FETUnderstanding Biodiversity120 minEducation Centre & Zoo
FETThe Application of Genetics120 minEducation Centre & Zoo

Themed Lessons

Themed lessons are facilitated during a certain time of the year only. These last for about one hour, leaving schools enough time to view the rest of the zoo, aquarium and reptile park. Most of the lessons consist of a number of stations (usually five or six) where different aspects of the lesson are dealt with. The learners from a particular school are thus divided into smaller groups, which then rotate from station to station. Themed lessons are usually linked to a national or international focus event, such as National Water Week or National Marine Week, and explore the theme in depth.

These Themed Lessons are facilitated:

PhaseThemeMonthVenue
IntermediateNational Water Week MarchPicnic area
IntermediateThe Magic of Owls MayOwl enclosures
IntermediateNational Science WeekAugustDispersed throughout zoo
Intermediate & Senior EcosystemsSeptemberApies River bridge
IntermediateSeas and Oceans Alive SeptemberAquarium

Science Festivals

As relatively few high schools visit the National Zoo, science festivals are attended to reach this target group. The NZG usually participates in science festivals which are within easy travelling distance in Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and the Free State, but even SciFest in the Eastern Cape may be attended. The NZG’s participation consists both of an informal display which is visited by learners at random, and formal lessons which are facilitated in an auditorium. These are:

PhaseThemeLengthVenue
Senior & FET Micro-ZoomingInformalNZG display
Senior & FET Understanding BiodiversityInformalNZG display
Senior & FET The Applications of Genetics60 min Auditorium

For bookings:

Karabo Mabuse
K.Mabuse@sanbi.org.za
012 339 2728

Mavis Kwinda
M.Kwinda@sanbi.org.za
012 339 2844

DID YOU KNOW?

Hippo

Did you know the name hippopotamus comes from ancient Greek and a hippo was considered a female deity of pregnancy in ancient Egypt?

The Application of Genetics

This FET lesson introduces the application of genetics to the learners by outlining the structure of DNA molecule, the principal of heredity, genetic engineering including cloning and the application of forensic science in solving crime.

Phase: FET

Length: 60 min

Venue: Education Centre

Understanding Biodiversity

This practical lesson for the FET Phase is designed to improve the learners’ understanding of biodiversity. The learners will explore variety of concepts that relate to biodiversity. The learners will be introduced to the importance of biodiversity. The lesson will also highlight the threats to biodiversity and how human interactions interfere in reducing the diversity of organisms on earth.

Phase: FET

Length: 60 min

Venue: Vulture seating Area

Micro-Zooming

Through this microscope lesson, the learners will explore the use and functions of microscopes. The learners will explore the wanders and magic of magnification. The learners will explore features of tiny organisms using a simple compound microscope. They will perform basic experiments to see how a microscope functions.

Phase: Senior

Length: 20 min

Venue: Aquarium

The Microscopic World

Through this microscope lesson, the learners will explore the use and functions of microscopes. The learners will explore the wanders and magic of magnification. The learners will explore features of tiny organisms using a simple compound microscope. They will perform basic experiments to see how a microscope functions.

Phase: Intermediate & Senior

Length: 20 min

Venue: Aquarium

Discovering Reptiles

This lesson introduces the learners to the world of reptiles. The learners will learn about the importance of reptiles, their groups and behaviour. Emphasis on snakes and their behaviour will be made. The learners will explore the eggs of snakes, their skins and various bones. The learners will have a close look at some non-venomous snakes.

Phase: Intermediate

Length: 20 min

Venue: Reptile Park lapa

The Majestic Elephant

This lesson teaches the learners about the African Savannah Elephants – their lives, habitat, adaptation and conservation. The learners will explore the elephant body parts and their adaptations using the puzzle provided.

Phase: Foundation

Length: 15 – 20 min

Venue: Elephant enclosure

National Symbols

This lesson provides the learners with an opportunity to discover through hands on activities, the animals that represent National Symbols in South Africa. The learners will investigate the names and features of animals illustrated on the bank notes of South Africa. The learners will learn about different colours of the South African National flag.

Phase: Foundation

Length: 15 – 20 min

Venue: Vulture seating Area

Don’t Litter

This is a welcoming lesson that gives rules in the zoo. It also teaches learners about the importance of keeping our environment clean.

Phase: Foundation

Length: 15 – 20 min

Venue: Main picnic area