Edexcel Study Day

In the Edexcel Study Day students find out about the way that science is practiced within the Zoological Society of London, in order to inform and inspire their Edexcel Visit or Issue Report. The morning session focuses on how we study and apply science, in order to achieve conservation for animals and habitats, including conservation research, animal husbandry, captive breeding, reintroductions and in-situ conservation, with real case studies used throughout.

The afternoon workshop focuses on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence project, and how science can be used to make decisions in conservation. In groups, the students are allocated an amphibian and asked to put together a case for why that species should receive funding for conservation. At the end of the session the groups present their case to the rest of the class, and a vote is taken to decide which species should be awarded the money.

Philippine eagle

Age group:  Years 12 and 13 (A-level, Post-16)

Duration: 60 minutes in the morning, 60 minutes in the afternoon

Capacity: 60 pupils

Learning Space: Education Centre (map ref I2)


Examination Board Syllabi links:


EDEXCEL Biology AS Level (8BI01)

Unit 2: Development, Plants and the Environment (AS Compulsory Unit)

6.4 Topic 4: Biodiversity and natural resources

  • Discuss and evaluate the methods used by zoos and seed banks in the conservation of endangered species and their genetic diversity (e.g. scientific research, captive breeding programmes, reintroduction programmes and education)

Unit 3: Practical biology and research skills (AS Compulsory Unit)

Part 2: Visit or issue report

  • The report may be a record of a visit to a site of biological interest, or a report of a non-practical research into a biological topic. The visit is intended to bring a student into contact with ‘real life’ example of biology in use

9.3 Assessment criteria 1

  • Describe the biological methods and processes used in a chosen area of biology in the context of a problem of question identified during a visit made or issue researched


Intended learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Gain an understanding of a scientific organisation and meet some of the people that work there
  • Gain an understanding of how science is used within the different areas of the organisation, in order help the conservation of animals, through various case studies and examples
  • Gather ideas, facts and data that will help them to write their Visit/Issue Report


For this session:


Before your visit:

  • Encourage the students to think about how science might be used at the Zoo. What sort of jobs do people do there?
  • Ask the students to prepare a list of questions to bring to the session to ask the speaker, or to ask members of staff that they encounter around the Zoo.
  • Ask students to plan a route to take around the Zoo that allows them to see the animals and exhibits that they would like to focus their report on.


While at the Zoo:

Whilst in the Zoo, students might like to:

  • Make a list of all the different types of people working in the Zoo (ask staff for their job titles). Decide which people would use conservation science in their work.
  • Observe Zookeepers at work in the animal enclosures.  Record the number of different types of activity they are involved in, e.g. cleaning, feeding, maintenance.  Think about how this activity relates to the science learned in school.
  • Look at the social groupings of animals in the Zoo.  Consider how zoo staff manage the breeding of animals.  Think about how they identify individuals, know their sex and recognise when animals are pregnant.
  • Use Gorilla Kingdom (map ref. F4) to find out about some of the people involved in the protection and conservation of an endangered species like the Gorilla.


After your visit: