Distance Learning Programs:
Distance learning programs offer a unique opportunity for students in Western New York and throughout the country to see live interactive footage of exhibits, animals, and staff at the Buffalo Zoo without leaving their classrooms!
Distance Learning Program Information:
- All programs are interactive, multimedia, and employ the use of live animals and live exhibit footage as needed.
- All programs are designed to help students fulfill the National and New York State Learning Standards.
- Pre and post program information and materials are provided (except Q & A) and are included in the program fee.
- Class size is limited to 25-30 students for maximum interactivity and program quality.
- The Buffalo Zoo’s distance learning equipment is capable of presenting at a speed of at least 384 kbps.
**Currently all programs will be conducted through IP.
Program Length: 45 minutes unless otherwise specified
NYS Standard Correlations: All programs meet many of the Key Ideas in MST Standards 1, 2 & 4 and ELA Standards 1 & 4 (and others as indicated). For a more complete listing of relevant Standards, please contact us.
National Science Standard Correlations: Life Science, Science in Personal and Social Perspective, Science and Technology, and Science as Inquiry.
Zoo’s Clues (grade pre-K)
Take a peek inside the Buffalo Zoo! Can you find the biggest, longest, brightest, or strongest animals in the Zoo? Students will use Zoo’s Clues to discover answers to questions like: what do elephants eat, how do monkeys play and why do tigers roar. We will take a look inside the zoo’s kitchen and animal hospital to get a glimpse of how zoo workers keep our animals healthy. Students will have opportunities for movement activities as they uncover clues to identify animals and places all over the zoo! This 30 minute program is recommended for pre-K students.
Animal Classification (grades 1-5)
Do all birds have beaks? Do all mammals have fur? Scientists classify, or group, animals according to certain characteristics that they have in common. By looking at an animal’s body structure and body covering, students will discover how scientists can organize the ten million species of animals into groups. They will investigate the characteristics and adaptations of the following animal classes: birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians!
Who’s at the Zoo?
Zoos are places to observe animals from all over the world...like polar bears, parrots, and pythons! In this program, students will encounter a variety of animals with body coverings of fur, feathers and scales. They will explore how zoos meet the basic needs of wild animals for food, water, shelter, and space. The program will also relate the characteristics and needs of zoo animals to the critters more encountered by students: pets and backyard wildlife.
Recommended for grades K-3.
Take an adventure around the world while visiting the Buffalo Zoo! Students will explore the American Southwest Desert, New World Rainforest, Australian Scrub Forest and Arctic Tundra to uncover adaptations that enable animals to survive in extreme environments! Discover how scientists study animal adaptations and ecosystem relationships to protect diverse biomes around the world.
Recommended for grades 3-8.
Can you imagine a world where you could taste with your feet (like a butterfly) and smell with your tongue (like a snake)? Animals have developed amazing adaptations like these to allow them to survive in their environment. Students will explore how animals sense the world differently than we do, and discover what it might be like by doing some “sensory experiments.”
Recommended for grades K-6
Playing, grooming, stalking….slithering, basking, and walking!! Students will discover how we can better understand animals by observing their physical characteristics and behavior. They will also learn how zookeepers design enrichment for animals based on their natural behaviors. As an extension activity, students will observe behavior of an animal and design an enrichment project for it.
Recommended for grades K-8
Let your students become scientists as they learn about animal behavior and animal enrichment in zoos! As the highlight of the program, students learn how to make specific enrichment items for designated species of animals at the Buffalo Zoo. This two-session experience culminates in a free trip to the Zoo where students get the opportunity to give their enrichment items to the animals and observe their behavior (non-local schools receive a “virtual field trip” to culminate program). Also meets Key Ideas in MST Standards 5 & 6.
Recommended for grades K-12
Q & A
Get all of your burning questions answered by the experts at the Buffalo Zoo during a question and answer session! Topics are set by the interested school, class, or community group in conjunction with the Buffalo Zoo. Students prepare questions ahead of time and are able to “interview” zoo staff. You may choose from a 30-minute or 45-minute session. Example topics: Insects, Mammals, etc.
Recommended for grades K-12
The Rainforest Experience
Where in the world can you hear parrots squawk, monkeys howl, insects buzz AND also smell bananas, orchids, and cinnamon? In the tropical rainforest, of course! Students discover the importance of the rainforest and the consequences of its destruction by covering the layers, sounds, smells, and animals of these vanishing rainforests. Students will also learn what they can do to help save this vanishing habitat. Also meets Key Ideas in Social Studies Standard 3.
Recommended for grades 1-7
Why are all animals important to an ecosystem, even cockroaches and poison dart frogs? During this experience students explore the interconnectedness of the natural world by discussing food webs, endangered species, and zoo conservation. Students will study animals that are locally and globally endangered and will be encouraged to start a conservation project of their own. Also meets Key Ideas in MST Standards 6 & 7.
Recommended for grades 4-12
Did you know that gorillas are peaceful primates? In this program students will embark on a Gorilla Quest to learn about gorillas and their behavior, discover behind-the-scenes requirements and missions of modern zoos, and unearth reasons why gorillas and other animals are endangered. This cross-curricular program was developed with a team of middle school teachers, and includes a comprehensive teacher’s guide to use in the classroom. Also meets Key Ideas in MST Standard 3, CDOS Standard 1.
Recommended for grades 5-12
Would you like to introduce teachers at your school to videoconferencing and “virtual field trips” as an exciting and interactive learning experience? The Buffalo Zoo can be a part of your teacher training by providing a 30-minute workshop that demonstrates various aspects of our videoconferencing programs. The Zoo educator will briefly review the content of our distance learning programs and incorporate live animals, live cams, and a Q &A segment into the session.
WILD Winter Animals-
How do animals prepare for the winter and seasonal changes? How do polar bears survive in the harsh Arctic environment? Students will observe animals and explore how they use clever winter survival strategies such as migration, hibernation and other amazing adaptations. This program includes opportunities for movement activities as the students focus on the seasonal adaptations of animals.
What do you need to take part?
Interest in an innovative method of instruction and access to two-way audio/visual teleconferencing equipment!
What are the program fees?
$100 for 45-minute sessions, including: SENSE-sational Animals, Behavior Basics, Rainforest Experience, Conservation Connection, Gorilla Quest, Who’s at the Zoo?, Habitat Explorers, WILD Winter Animals
$75 for our 30-minute Q&A session and teacher workshop
For our series class, Animal Enrichment: $200 for non-local schools or
$250 for local schools (this fee includes a culminating field trip to the Zoo)
How do you schedule a distance learning program?
1. Contact the Distance Learning Coordinator at the Buffalo Zoo to schedule a program for a specific date, at (716) 837-3900 ext. 143 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The Zoo will send a confirmation letter with additional information, along with any necessary materials.
What is the Zoo’s cancellation policy?
Cancellations must be received at least 48 hours in advance. The Buffalo Zoo will then make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, the Buffalo Zoo will issue a refund. The refund will be assessed one administrative charge of $25. If a cancellation is made less than 48 hours before the scheduled program, the full program fee will still be charged.
If a school encounters technical problems on the scheduled date of a program, the Buffalo Zoo will wait approximately 15 minutes after the program start time to determine if the problem can be resolved. If not, the program will be cancelled for that date. The school then has the option to reschedule the program. If the school chooses not to reschedule, or if the technical issues cannot be resolved for another program date, the full program fee will still be charged.
In the event of weather related zoo or school closings, the Buffalo Zoo will make every reasonable attempt to reschedule your program. If the program cannot be rescheduled, the Buffalo Zoo will issue a full refund.