The Access Excellence Periodic Tableau

You Belong in the Zoo Project -
Using HyperStudio

Judy Jones
East Chapel Hill High School
Chapel Hill, NC

Type of entry:

A description of a project (with instructions)

Type of activity:

This is a hands on activity that may be done in small groups or individually. The completed projects can be contributed to elementary schools forming a library of information about animals that are found at the North Carolina Zoo.

Target Audience:

This activity is appropriate for 9th or 10th grade biology students, although the concept could be adapted for many topics and grade levels. Students could used a similar concept to create projects on scientists, chemical elements, diseases, etc.

Background Information:

The following class time is needed for this project:
- 2 class periods for research (library)
- 1 day for a field trip to the zoo
- 8 days for working in the computer lab
- 1 day for a "project fest" where students observe other projects

Abstract of Activity

East Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina, along with high schools all over the country, is planning projects that will fit more flexible time blocks and involve students in more active and interdisciplinary learning. Included in our planning is a heavy emphasis on the infusion of technology into the curriculum. As part of this planning, several years ago I developed the You Belong in the Zoo Project to:
a) help students learn about the vast diversity of living organisms
b) involve ALL students in active research
c) introduce students to an exciting computer technology
d) encourage creativity.

For this project, each student first conducts research on one organism found at our state zoo. When students visit the NC Zoo in the spring, they will serve as consultants on their organisms. Zoo observations and information are included in the HyperStudio project. Research is done in the library or with an extensive animal book collection in the science department. Additional research is done on-line either in the library or in our classrooms. Next, each student plans a 10-card HyperStudio project about his/her organism. Students create their stacks following detailed instructions, if they are not familiar with HyperStudio. Students learn to present their research in an attractive, meaningful and well-written way. The focus is on QUALITY work!

The first card in the HyperStudio stack includes the name of the organism, a picture (either scanned or drawn by the student), and an imported map upon which the student indicates the actual global distribution of the organism by using paint tools. Subsequent cards contain information about 2) the organisms' vital statistics and classification, 3) position in the food web, 4) reproductive behaviors, and 5) special adaptations. Students include a bibiliography card and an "About the Author(s)" card that includes their pictures taken with quickcams or quicktake cameras. Students have downloaded short videos of their organisms, have scanned pictures, and have used draw tools to produce their own art work. Others cards detail the zoo habitat of the organism, its endangered status, and human attitudes or exploitation of the organism. Students will discuss the benefit of this organism to its ecosystem as well as human activities that threaten the organism's survival. When students finish their stacks, I hold a PROJECTFEST in the computer lab. Each student puts his/her project on a computer and the other students use a "treasure hunt" approach to answer questions that students prepare. The students are particularly fond of this format because they get to actually "browse" through each other's projects.

The You Belong in the Zoo Card project has proved to be extremely successful. It began as a simple idea (using Hypercard) that I developed for my classes and has been adopted by all 6 of our biology teachers. If you walked into our computer lab you would see students who are completely engaged. Even students who have been identified as "attention deficit" or "at risk" are seen to focus and persist. I have also discovered that students who may not be high achievers on traditional paper/pencil activities, often excel when placed in front of the computer. I see students experience success and feel pride in their work. In addition, students who are familiar with computers and HyperStudio show much creativity in their projects, adding cards with interesting linkages, using draw tools to create pictures or to alter scanned images, and creating charming animations. Some of my students have even used the same HyperStudio format to prepare projects for their other classes, including scanning pictures into their brochures or stacks. In addition to the biological concepts that are stressed in this project, many writing and communication skills are also learned. Perhaps most importantly, every one of my students turns in this assignment!

Part I: Research Assignment (for students)

In order to create your You Belong in the Zoo Cards on the Macintosh, you will need to do the following research. *Note: Some of the questions and items below are appropriate only for certain animals and not for others. YOU do the research. YOU find out the key facts, how your organism reproduces and develops, behaves, interacts with its environment, etc. YOU decide which questions apply to your organism.

Each of the underlined areas of research will become a CARD in your HyperStudio project. Areas that are in bold font are the main cards. Other underlined areas link to the bold areas.



Global Distribution: Where on Earth would you find this organism? Be specific so that you could color in a map of the world showing where this organism is found.

List here the bibliographic notations for the sources that you used. Be sure to use correct format. You should have at least four different sources (journals, books, on-line information, etc.) Three of your sources CANNOT be encyclopedias.

What do you want the readers to know about you. What grade are you? What are your interests? Any unique characteristics?


When did your organism first appear in evolutionary history? What are the most recent ancestors of your organism. What are some other interesting details about the evolution of your organism?


If you were building a zoo habitat for this organism, how would you design it? How big would it be? Would it have water, areas for climbing, protected enclosures, etc.? You may use "draw tools" and create a diagram of your habitat as well as describing it.


Describe special characteristics and structures and unique ways of functioning and behaving. Forms of communication? Social or solitary behaviors; survival mechanisms; territorialism? How does this organism sense changes in its environment and respond to them? Does this organism carry diseases or pose any other problems for humankind?

b. THE FUTURE (or Human Interactions with this Organism)
How is this organism used or abused by humankind? What are some of the myths or prejudices that humans have about this organism? Do humans use this organism in advertising to illustrate certain characteristics? Is this organism endangered? What is the cause of the endangerment? Are there efforts being made to save this organism or to breed it in captivity? If this animal is successful, why?

PART 2: HyperStudio Instructions (for students)
Special Notes

  1. These instructions are for a project that looks like the example that you have been shown. For students who have never used HyperStudio, following these instructions closely is a good idea. If you have used HyperStudio and have some ideas you would like to pursue, you may do so. Just be sure that the required research is well presented in your project.

  2. You will use the HyperStudio Folder on your hard drive. You will find everything you need in it and you will save your project into that folder.

  3. You will have a floppy disk to BORROW during this project. Remember the number of your disk. No one else will use this disk during the project. Be sure to save your project on the floppy disk as will as on the hard drive of the computer.

  4. There is a card Map for this project. This gives you a visual view of how the cards in your HyperStudio Project are linked.

  5. Remember that the best projects have some consistency. Try to keep colors and card "flipping" the same throughout the project. If you do too much experimentation, your project will be very distracting and people who use it will lose site of the important research.

  6. You should SAVE your project frequently in case HyperStudio "freezes" causing you to lose unsaved work. You can save it on the hard disk in the HyperStudio folder and then at the end of the day you can save it to your floppy disk.

  7. You will have these projects almost finished by the end of the first week on work. The only thing you might add is a picture after our trip to the zoo.


    Open HyperStudio application; Click on "New Stack"; "yes" to leave home stack; "OK" You will be on the first card of your stack (Title Card).

  2. BEGINNING THE TITLE CARD - Add a text object (see HyperStudio Instructions) You will put the common name of your organism in this text object.

  3. ADD A SECOND CARD - Create a text object and put "Key Facts" in this object.

  4. ADD A THIRD CARD - Create a text object and put "Lifestyle" in this object.

  5. ADD A FOURTH CARD - Create a text object and put "Reproduction" in this object.

  6. ADD A FIFTH CARD - Create a text object and put "Adaptations" in this object.

  7. ADD A SIXTH CARD - Create a text object and put "Bibliography" in this object.

  8. CREATE BUTTONS for navigating the cards

    Go to menu bar "Extras." Choose "storyboard." Go to your first card". Create a BUTTON and name the button KEY FACTS. (You can copy and paste this button until you have four more buttons and then rename them.) The second button is named "LIFESTYLE." The third button is named "REPRODUCTION." The fourth button is named "ADAPTATIONS." The fifth button is named "BIBLIOGRAPHY."

  9. LINK BUTTONS to cards
    Go to the first button (KEY FACTS) and "select it" with the arrow. Choose "Actions." Choose "Another Card." Arrow to the card, KEY FACTS, and click "OK" and then click "DONE." Follow the same procedure to link each of the buttons to the LIFESTYLE, REPRODUCTION, ADAPTATIONS, and BIBLIOGRAPHY cards.

    Go to the KEY FACTS card. Paste a new button. Name this button "TITLE CARD." Link this button to the TITLE CARD. Copy the TITLE CARD button and paste it on each of the cards except the first. Copy the KEY FACTS button. Paste this button on all cards except the KEY FACTS card and the Bibliography card. Copy the LIFESTYLE button. Paste this button on all cards except the LIFESTYLE card and the BIBLIOGRAPHY card. Copy the REPRODUCTION button. Paste this button on all cards except the REPRODUCTION card and the BIBLIOGRAPHY card. Copy the ADAPTATIONS button. Paste this button on all cards except the ADAPTATIONS card and the BIBLIOGRAPHY card.

    You should now be able to go from the TITLE CARD to any of the other cards and back again. You should also be able to go back and forth from any of the cards to each other except for the BIBLIOGRAPHY card. You should only be able to go from the TITLE CARD to the BIBLIOGRAPHY card and back again.

    Go to menu FILE and select OPEN STACK. Select the MAP STACK and open it. Use your "dotted box" tool to surround the map. Try not to leave much of a margin. Go to menu EDIT and select COPY. DO NOT CUT. Go to menu FILE and select OPEN STACK. DO NOT SAVE. Open your animal stack. Paste your map to the TITLE CARD. Move it into the position you want. Use paint tools to mark where your animal is found.

  13. Adding other TEXT OBJECTS.
    You will need a text object on the TITLE CARD in order to write your description of the distribution of your animal. You will need a text object on the TITLE CARD to put by "your name" and "date" You will need a text object on each of the other cards in order to type in your research.

    You need to create 4 more cards that link to KEY FACTS, LIFESTYLE, ADAPTATIONS, and BIBLIOGRAPHY. Here is one example:

    Go to the KEY FACTS card. Create a new button. Name your button EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY. After you decide what you want that button to look like, go to "actions" and select "another card." Type [N] to get a new card and click OK. After you finish the button, you will need to go to the new card and create a button named KEY FACTS that you will link to the KEY FACTS card.

    On your new EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY card you can create a text object for the title of your card and another text object for entering your research.

    Follow the same procedure to create a card called ZOO HABITAT that links to the LIFESTYLE card. Follow the same procedure to create a card called FUTURE that links to the ADAPTATIONS card. And follow the same procedure to create a card called ABOUT THE AUTHORS that links to the BIBLIOGRAPHY card.

    You will enter graphics in your project according to instructions that are given in the specific HyperStudio instruction packet. You will need a picture of your animal on your TITLE CARD or linked to your TITLE CARD by a button. A picture of the author(s) should be on or linked to the ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S) card. Other graphics are optional.

PART 3: Evaluation

Following is a simple list that can be used to grade the projects. The points in parentheses represent the maximum that can be earned for that card.

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