Detroit Zoo Brings Science to Life for Warren First Graders


ROYAL OAK — More than 1,000 first-grade students in Warren Consolidated Schools will experience the wonder and wow of the Detroit Zoo this fall with an immersive science curriculum through a special partnership between the two entities.

This is the second such initiative for the Detroit Zoological Society’s education department after a successful endeavor beginning in the spring of 2012 involving third-grade students in Utica Community Schools.

“School district administrators and teachers are looking to bring their science curricula to life and enhance what they are already doing in the classroom,” says Diane Miller, the zoo’s chief program officer. “Our educators at the Detroit Zoo worked directly with the administrators and teachers to develop a program that begins in the classroom, continues at the zoo, and returns to the classroom — in order to book-end the project and ensure it has a long-lasting impact on these children.”

Millers says with first-grade science standards involving the study of life cycles, the zoo educators have created a specialized program for the WCS students using various methods to create meaningful experiences. The program starts with a guided tour of the Detroit Zoo that focuses on amphibians, butterflies and baby animals to study the life cycles and adaptations.

The first graders will use simulation tools to understand the process of a butterfly sucking nectar from a flower, practice classifying and sorting skills, and learn about butterfly symmetry through artwork. They will also learn observation and adaptation techniques with terrariums, study the lifecycle of plants with a bean-root observation window, and weigh and measure pretend frogs.

“It is our hope that this program has a considerable impact on these young minds,” Miller says.