We’ve packed up the Zoo for classroom fun. With our Discovery Box program, educators can rent a theme box and facilitate the lesson plan in their own classroom. Each box includes background information to help you prepare and teach, as well as animal artifacts, videos, stuffed animals, games, books and more. Created by teachers for teachers, the lesson plan and materials are aligned with the Kansas State Teaching Standards.
The curriculum for each Discovery Box is contained in a notebook which includes an instructor’s guide, suggested lesson plans, information sheets, a PowerPoint presentation to accompany handouts, pictures, a teaching key, discovery projects (that can be used as individual assignments or as class projects), arts and craft project ideas, coloring sheets, and resource listings of local resources. A CD with this same information is also provided.
Discovery boxes may be rented for $10 plus a $25 refundable deposit of $25. The rental period is two weeks. A charge of $5 will be assessed for an additional week and a $5 late fee will be charged for boxes not turned in on time. Contact the Topeka Zoo at 785.368.9134 for more information or to reserve a Discovery Box.
The following Disovery Box themes are available:
- Habitats. Habitats are the homes of animals with unique temperatures, rainfall and plant life. Temperate forests, rainforests, deserts, arctic and alpine tundra, grassland and wetlands exist as a result of their special locations on the earth. In this kit, we explore the habitats that support life.
- Classification. Life on Earth originated between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago. Since then millions of different organisms have evolved (and most have gone extinct). Faced with such a multitude and diversity of organisms, biologists have looked for ways to classify all these organisms into different groups to make it easier to study them. But what criteria should they use for grouping? And how big or small should the groups be? This Kit will explore the scientific classifications of living organisms.
- Tropical Rainforest. Tropical rainforests are located along the equator all around the earth. The largest area of rainforest is the Amazon basin of South America, other major tropical forests can be found through Central Africa and Southeast Asia. This module looks at the rainforest and its inhabitants.
- Mammals and Primates. What makes a mammal a mammal? Mammals share some common characteristics that distinguish them from other animal groups. However, not all mammals have all of these characteristics, they might have just a few of the characteristics. The commonalities include being warm-blooded, having their body covered in hair, having a mouth with teeth and suckling their young on milk produced by the female. This module investigates the characteristics of mammals and primates.
- Australia. The continent of Australia and the large surrounding islands of New Guinea, Tasmania and New Zealand are populated with a class of pouched mammals called marsupials, which fill every ecological niche populated by many more diverse animal types everywhere else in the world. In this kit, students learn the unique environment that is Australia.
- Africa. The African continent provides a large expanse of grazing lands, both tall and short grasses and open woodlands, throughout its center. These vast unsettled areas are home to large herds of hoofed stock as well as many classes of predators, seemingly unchanged from prehistoric times. The largest and hottest desert is the Sahara in northern Africa, while the Namib and Kalahari deserts are far to the south and hosts their own specially adapted wildlife. In this module, students learn about life in Africa.
- North America. North America is home to many very different environments. The environmental regions are not strictly defined but blend into one another also, within a designated region elements of many habitats can be present. Animals common to a particular region may not only inhabit that one area but are most likely to be found there. Some creatures are well adapted to many habitats. This kit relates some regional animals to their environment and their dependency on each other.