At the Zoo
Students will learn all about what it takes to be a zookeeper in this preschool social studies lesson. They will have fun exploring the duties of a zookeeper as well as the tools a zookeeper needs to do his or her job.
Book - I Want to Be a Zookeeper by Dan Liebman
White paper - one sheet per student
Markers and crayons
If you are using this lesson as part of a zoo unit, read a few fiction stories with zookeepers as characters such as Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann and If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick .
Read the book I Want to Be a Zookeeper by Dan Liebman. As you read, discuss the photographs and what the zookeepers are doing in each picture.
After reading the book, write the title What Zookeepers Do on a large piece of chart paper. Make a list of the duties of a zookeeper, using the book and any others you want to add. Some to include are feeding the animals, cleaning the animal cages and enclosures, talking to visitors to the zoo about the animals, providing information and answering questions, and checking on the health of the animals.
After discussing your first chart, make a second chart and list some of the tools a zookeeper might need in order to do his or her jobs. You might let the students give some ideas to start with and then add any that they missed. Some items for your chart would be keys to the enclosures, brooms and shovels to use when cleaning, feed buckets, and walkie talkies to stay in contact with the other zookeepers. Your students may think of others to include also.
To end the lesson give each student a piece of paper and have them draw and color a picture of a zookeeper doing one of his or her duties at the zoo.
Have each student tell you about his or her picture. Assess his or her understanding of what a zookeeper does. Did he or she draw an appropriate duty? Did he or she add the tools necessary for that duty?
- After learning about zookeepers, ask the students how many would want to be a zookeeper. Graph the responses.
- Talk about other jobs at the zoo—veterinarian, ticket sales, concessions, etc.
There's a lot to be learned about what a zookeeper does. Try these other zoo activities for preschoolers, too!