ZooTech, school programs co-developed by the Buffalo Zoo and Erie 1 BOCES, are now available to all school districts in the Erie 1 BOCES region.
Officially launched in November 2011, the ZooTech programs are designed to incorporate technology with the Zoo’s everyday “living laboratory” of animal residents. Lessons taught under the ZooTech programs are designed for students of all ages and cover a wide variety of subjects. The ZooTech programs have fully been developed as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs that fulfill education standards in a fun and unique way.
"As part of the program, we will help teachers translate their examples into lessons that will align with NYS Common Core Learning Standards," said Julianna Sciolino, manager of professional development at Erie 1 BOCES. "After instituting their lessons in the classroom, the students will attend class at the Buffalo Zoo to interact with the concepts they have been learning. Finally, the students will utilize technology to create and publish examples of their new knowledge."
“This is certainly not your traditional fieldtrip,” said Tiffany Vanderwerf, the Buffalo Zoo’s Curator of Education. “By being surrounded by some of the world’s most amazing animal species, the ZooTech programs allow a variety of subjects to be more deeply explored by using advanced technology. Aside from the STEM-related curriculum connections, a social studies teacher can deepen their students’ understanding of world hemispheres and an art teacher can discuss exhibit design.”
On Friday, May 18, 2012, a Sweet Home Senior High School 9th grade class, under the direction of chemistry teacher, John Elliot, will participate in a ZooTech program that features the theme “Evolution: Beyond Darwin’s Voyage.” Students will be immersed in an interactive exploration of evolution. By challenging students to act as though they have discovered a new island (“
this program allows them to experience the breakthrough that Charles Darwin
made more than 180 years ago. Zoo Island
As part of the lesson plan, the program implements technology with use of evolution simulations and flip cameras. Students will gain an understanding of common ancestry and create a wildlife documentary that features video they take of the Zoo’s animal residents.
"It is our hope that the Buffalo Zoo trip will be beneficial to students by giving them a chance to use technology (internet research, video shooting/editing) to create a visual examination of evolutionary relationships among live animal specimens,” said John Elliot, chemistry teacher at Sweet Home Senior High School. “This will create an authentic learning experience that will ideally anchor their understanding of evolution and allow them to draw conclusions from events and items they encounter in their day to day lives. They will then share these videos with the rest of the class, allowing them to become educators."
While the students create their documentaries at the Buffalo Zoo, Erie 1 BOCES professional development coordinator, James Dailey, will provide the students with multimedia assistance. On May 22, an Erie 1 BOCES representative will also offer in-class assistance with the importing of the students’ captured video into iMovie.
For more information about the ZooTech programs, please call the Buffalo Zoo at (716) 995-6128 or visit www.buffalozoo.org.
Founded in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the
. Each year, the
Buffalo Zoo welcomes more than 400,000 visitors and is the most visited
cultural attraction in United States Western New York. Located on 23.5 acres of Olmsted's beautiful , the Buffalo Zoo houses approximately
1,200 endangered and domestic animals and offers visitors a variety of events
and educational programs year-round. The Buffalo Zoo’s philosophy is to exhibit
animals and plants in naturalistic settings that represent their native
habitats. The Zoo is dedicated to providing visitors with a better
understanding of nature, including how animals relate to each other, their
environment and to humankind. For more information about the Buffalo Zoo,
including the Zoo’s “Bundle Up For Polar Bears” initiative, which is taking
place through March 16, visit www.buffalozoo.org. Delaware Park
1 BOCES Erie
Statewide, school districts partner with BOCES in an effort to provide accountability, municipal sharing, efficiency and educational equity. Erie 1 BOCES, one of 37 BOCES in
New York State, is a cooperative of 19 school districts
surrounding the city of .
To assist school districts, the organization provides a variety of educational
services including professional development. Erie 1 BOCES' coordinators engage
teachers in high quality professional development through classroom practices
that integrate the NYS learning standards, assessments and technology to
support higher student achievement. The service area supports: instructional
technology, curriculum, assessments, instruction, and NY state education
department updates. Learn more at www.e1b.org. Buffalo