EDUCATION

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Staten Island Zoo offers on-site professional development courses for teachers. These courses offer content in scientific disciplines, as well as how to incorporate literacy and math strategies into your curriculum. We will also show you how to use the Zoo as a study site for your students. All courses are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and New York State Science Learning Standards. New York City DOE teachers can earn CTLE and P-Credits for these courses!


Registration For Summer 2021 Closed

Participants will explore using a project-based, animal behavior investigation in their classroom by utilizing the animals, exhibits, and resources at the Staten Island Zoo. Over three weeks, participants will develop the steps and skills necessary to lead their students through an animal behavior study, from generating engagement through curating a scientific explanation, by designing and conducting their own scientific investigation. Immersing themselves in the process, participants will develop a deeper understanding of both science practices and science content that can be repeated online, in the classroom, and/or using the Zoo as a field trip. Participants will learn biological and ecological concepts while modeling the behavior of a zoological researcher in the field. We will cover how to introduce a zoo as a study site, whether using in-person or virtual resources. Participants will have a chance to practice the unique ways of collecting data in the field of animal behavior research as we also learn the evolutionary concepts that influence animal behavior. Participants will also learn about the many careers that exist in the fields of biology and zoology, including captive management. There will be several animal presentations and tours for background content in adaptations and animal behavior.

After researching a species in our collection, participants will observe the animal’s behavior in a captive setting through online videos and livestreams. Examining their collected research, they will compare what they observed to what they would expect to see in a natural setting. Participants will learn about the concept of “enrichment” and allowing species to display natural behaviors in a captive environment. Working with a team, participants will design an enrichment item for their animal given the Zoo’s parameters and approved items lists to promote any natural behaviors they expected to see but did not.

This course will take place entirely online with scheduled synchronous meetings for lessons and questions, and asynchronous work for discussions and assignments. Participants will receive guidance and feedback from course instructors on asynchronous work. Participants will also be given the option of conducting observations in person, with free Zoo access granted for the participant.

Session One:  Monday, August 2 – Wednesday, August 4

Session Two:  Thursday, August 5 – Saturday, August 7

Session Three:  Monday, August 9 – Wednesday, August 11

Session Four:  Thursday, August 12 – Saturday, August 14

Session Five:  Monday, August 16 – Wednesday, August 18

Session Six:  Thursday, August 19 – Saturday, August 21

Eligible for 45 CTLE hours and 3 P-Credits

In order to receive P-Credits, you must also register with ASPDP.  There is an additional $125 fee from ASPDP for this course

$150 Per Participant

Registration Closed



Adaptation is traditionally taught under the banner that an organism is perfectly adapted to its status quo conditions. While true on an existential level, idioms like this lend themselves to common misconceptions about abiotic and biotic factors that drive those adaptations. In this 2-day professional development course, participants will deep dive into context as it relates to a biological organism. Through targeted observation and secondary research, participants will be able to 1.) identify the abiotic, biotic, and contextual factors of a given environment. 2.) Formulate a taxonomy of common contextual factors that drive adaptation, biosphere-wide. 3.) Predict functional and behavioral adaptations expected to be observed throughout, and across, Earth’s biomes and biological taxonomies. 4.) Better understand adaptation. 5.) Explore and apply teaching strategies that help students understand habitats, niches, ecosystem dynamics, and the importance of context to biology at-large. 6.) Learn to utilize the Zoo’s culturally-rich and biodiverse exhibits as a study site for investigations.

At the first session, participants will be introduced to context by engaging in a probe game to identify contextual factors of a given habitat card. Participants will then work in groups to further identify those factors by using digital resources / research database queries to perform a literary review of the abiotic and biotic factors of their given habitat. Through a series of group activities, exploring a climate change and owl case study, and creative outlet tools, participants will be able to predict habitats solely based on its contextual factors. Facilitator will then guide participants through a Zoo exploration tour, while participants make observations about animal adaptations.

Participants will choose an animal to further explore and begin writing an animal brief on that utilizes secondary research and direct observation.

At session two, participants will present their observed animal briefs to the larger group. In smaller breakout groups, participants will develop a taxonomy of common contextual factors driving adaptation. Facilitator will then present live animals that participants will be able to actively engage with as a means of driving the observation of context and adaptation. Habitat cards will be redistributed, and participants, will “engineer” an organism that’s adapted to the contextual factors of that given habitat card. At the end of session 2, teachers will have time to reflect on practice and discuss implementation strategies using the NRSF protocol “Back to the Future” to ascertain classroom entry points with current students.

Session One:  Sunday, July 25, 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Session Two:  Saturday, August 28, 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Eligible for 15 CTLE hours and 1 P-Credits

In order to receive P-Credits, you must also register with ASPDP.  There is an additional $45 fee from ASPDP for this course

$100 Per Participant

Registration Closed


For information, call 718-442-3100 ext. 33

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