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Blank Park Zoo PD Workshops for Teachers

The Blank Park Zoo would once again like to invite educators to professional development opportunities that will be held at Blank Park Zoo on the dates listed below.  The workshops are good for one hour of license renewal credit and teachers will be eligible to schedule a free classroom animal program.  Our education department is willing and able to travel to districts across the state with our classroom programs (animals included!).


Participants in our workshops engage in relevant inquiry investigations that are connected to the Next Generation Science Standards and Iowa Core, learn research-based instructional practices, and gain knowledge and ideas that will be useful in their classrooms. Lessons are flexible, allowing teachers to adjust for their students’ abilities; and relate to all age groups in several subject areas (science, literacy, mathematics, social studies, and the arts).


Dates and Topics:


Academic Year 2017/2018


September 29/30, 2017 - Ecosystems
January 5/6, 2018 - Climate Change
January 19/20, 2018 - Wild Genes
February 16/17, 2018 - Conservation: People and Animals
March 2/3, 2018 - Patterns in Nature
April 6/7, 2018 - Wonders of Water


Workshop Descriptions:


Ecosystems – Ecosystems are comprised of living and non-living factors linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows, including predator/prey relationships; survival mechanisms; and water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles.  In this workshop, participants will learn about interactions in ecosystems and how to build and maintain an ecosystem using common, easily obtained materials. Workshop strategies will include a phenomena and driving question and will highlight the practices, cross cutting concepts, and engineering principles in the Next Generation Science Standards. Concepts presented in this workshop best fit grade levels 5-12.


Climate Change - Educators will participate in learning activities designed by a collaborative of seven national organizations including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Parks Service, and U.S. Forest Service.

Activities focus on climate change and its impact on wildlife and public lands. All activities have been reviewed by scientists and by educators from the 2008 Einstein Fellowship Program and are aligned with Iowa Core.


Wild Genes – Participants explore genetic diversity in plants and animals, learn about the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Program, and meet some families of animals here at the zoo.  While genetics content is generally presented in middle and high school, we will be showing how concepts at the elementary level articulate to upper grades and will be doing investigations for all levels.


Conservation: People and Animals - Participants will explore positive and negative interactions between humans and animals in ecosystems, learn about conservation efforts in which Blank Park Zoo is a partner, and how to connect with researchers and conservationists committed to wildlife conservation around the world.


Patterns in Nature – This course will explore patterns in nature using science, mathematics, art, and literature.  Participants will gain knowledge about camouflage, biomimicry, aposematism, fractals, Fibonacci, and sound and movement patterns in plant and animal populations.


Wonders of Water - Participants will explore the physical properties of water, various water habitats, and water related conservation concerns. Activities will include water testing, comparisons of various water habitats and the organisms that depend on them, examination of current water issues and concerns, and development of lessons to be utilized in the classroom. As in all of our workshops, materials are research-based and are aligned with the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Iowa Core.


Cost: $25.00 to help cover materials and meals, payable at workshop; credit fees if taking for credit


Included in workshop: Meals (dinner on Friday night and continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday), materials for teachers to utilize in their classrooms, and an opportunity to schedule a free classroom visit or program at the zoo.

Workshops will run Friday from 4-9:30 and Saturday from 8 – 5:30



Registration forms may be found on the zoo website – www.blankparkzoo.com under Education/Just for Teachers.  They may be submitted electronically.

Participants should contact Kathy McKee at 515-974-2557; kamckee@blankparkzoo.net or Angela Tague, 515-974-2546; altague@blankparkzoo.net  if they have any questions.


We look forward to working with you!

Kathy McKee and Angela Tague

K-12 Education Manager and K-12 Education Specialist

Blank Park Zoo

7401 SW 9th Street

Des Moines, IA 50315


Saturday, March 3, 2018 Show more dates
All Day Event

Event Organizer

South Central STEM Hub

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