What Do Zoologists Do?

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Students ask scientific questions by listening to a zoologist share the types of questions she asks while during her job at the local zoo.

Big Idea

Zoologists make contributions to society by using their expertise to keep animal in zoos nation-wide safe and healthy.


5 minutes


My students gather at our community meeting place.  I tell my students to "Think about the words in the title of the scientist's job - zoologists. Can you determine what this scientists does based on the job title or name?"


As our science lessons continue, I encourage my students build upon what they are learning.  If they are able to internalize the new information about science and the various types of scientists, I will began to see growth.  Some of my students are using scientific vocabulary and starting to ask scientific questions.  


Using what they know, my students began to express their understanding of what a zoologist does in the world of science.



5 minutes


I say, "Today boys and girls, we are going to experience two animals that might be taken care of by a zoo keeper."  First I allow the students to look at the loped-ear rabbit.  They are very excited about the rabbit visiting our classroom.


I say, "We are also going to observe a guinea pig."  They are also excited about the pig visiting as well.


The students merely look at the animals without any intervention from me.  They talk to one another and make comments about the animals.  One student says, "The rabbit is so big and his hears are as big as carrots."




10 minutes


Now that the students know what a zoologist does, they experience their job.  The students observe a lop-eared rabbit and a guinea pig.  This is a minimal version of what a zoologists does.  The students are divided into two groups in order to observe the animals.


I say to the students, "I will call you up one at a time to gently pat the lop-eared rabbit. Next, I say, "You have five minutes to observe at each station.  You must make an observation entries at each station in your science notebooks.  You may be chosen from your table to share with the class."  







15 minutes


I say to the students, "Now that you observed both the loped-eared rabbit and the gueine pig, did l you notice any things about them that were the same or different."


First I allow each student to talk to a shoulder partner.  I do this because it helps ensure that everyone's voice is heard even if they do not address the whole group.  It is very important to kindergarteners to "have a turn."  Selecting a few students to share with the group helps save precious time but, knowing and saying that everyone shared helps manage student behavior.


I focus the students attention on the animals who are side by side in their cages.  I say, 'Notice how the animals are behaving now."  I explain that the rabbit is engaged in his cage and moving around while the gueine pig is sitting very still and is under the covering.




10 minutes


As our lesson comes to a close, I remind my students that if they enjoy working with animals it a real possibility that they could become zoo keepers.  I say, "Zoo keepers do well in school and science class is very important to them.  They listen and learn as well as ask important questions."


Finally, I tell my students to share their favorite part of this investigation with a partner.  I ask them to tell what they learned from the investigation and why it is important.