Young Scientists Partner with UNO and Zoo to Research Animal Behavior

Our Lady of Lourdes eighth-grade students are partnering with University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) students on a project that provides them an opportunity to learn more about animal behavior standards and how to collect and analyze data to draw conclusions while helping a beloved Omaha organization, the Henry Doorly Zoo.

The eighth-graders were provided with samples of problem behaviors and situations that occur in zoo life from zoo animal behaviorist Jay Pratte. Working together with Dr. Rose Strasser’s Animal Behavior class at UNO, students will research typical behaviors for those animals and then observe them at the zoo using an ethogram (a way to collect scientific information about behavior). Students will then develop possible solutions to these problems.

OLL_Zoo Service Project“Our students will discover animal behavior through experiential research and observation of animals, rather than just reading about the animals in a textbook. The result is students who realize each exhibit contains a story, and they can share that story with others,” said Brown. “Observing the animals and developing solutions to address problem behaviors, shows our students that what they learn inside and outside of class matters, and they can have a positive impact on their community.”

This project benefits the zoo by providing detailed observations of the animals that zookeepers otherwise would not have the time to gather. Our Lady of Lourdes students will begin observations at the zoo on Monday, Sept. 21. Their projects will be presented to their UNO student partners and Pratte in October. The project aligns with science curriculum standards.

Click here to learn more about Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.