Should We Keep Animals in Zoos?

Ages: 10 & under
Suggested length: 2 class periods (45-55 minutes each) 
Device accessibility: 1 device per student

Lesson Information

At a glance

This Kialo discussion examines the question of whether we should keep animals in zoos. Students will explore the discussion and use a graphic organizer to help them organize their thoughts on the central question. Finally, students will individually write a petition using arguments from the discussion.

Learning objective(s)

In this lesson, students will:

  • Explore a series of arguments for and against keeping animals in zoos.
  • Organize and plan their thoughts before writing
  • Write a petition listing a series of arguments to convince an audience.

Prior knowledge

No specific prior knowledge is required for this lesson.

Teacher preparation

  • There is no need to clone this discussion. Students can explore the discussion hosted on the Kialo_Edu account by clicking this link.
  • If you would like to invite students to the discussion using the “Share” button or the Teams feature, create 1 clone of the discussion for yourself.
  • When inviting students to the discussion, give them Viewer permissions.

Provided materials

  • The Kialo discussion, “Should We Keep Animals in Zoos?” This includes:
    • Instructions for students.
    • A fully developed Kialo discussion for students to explore. The discussion covers the positive and negative aspects of keeping animals in zoos.
  • Lesson plan for educators (.docx / .pdf).
  • Graphic organizer for students (.docx / .pdf).

Lesson Plan

Suggested length: 2 class periods (45-55 minutes each)

Lesson components:
– Opener (5-10 minutes)
– Activity
– Part A: Exploring the discussion and filling out the graphic organizer (focus of 1 class period)
– Part B: Writing the petition letter (focus of 1 class period)
– Optional closer (10-15 minutes)

– Students will write a letter to accompany a petition, based on one of the following scenarios:
a) You want the government to shut down the local zoo and send the animals to a sanctuary.
b) You want the local zoo to improve the lives of the animals who live there.

Opener (5-10 minutes)

  1. Ask the students if they’ve ever visited a zoo and to share what their experiences were like there. Discuss with the students why some people might have negative or positive views towards zoos.


Part A: Exploring the discussion and filling out the graphic organizer (focus of 1 class period)

  1. Go over instructions for the lesson, which are contained in the discussion background (this can be found by clicking the 211229-163614_firefox_MZNOvmaw1a.png button in the top-left corner of the discussion).
  2. Hand out individual copies of the graphic organizer. Have students fill it out as they explore the discussion.
  3. Direct students to explore the Kialo discussion, “Should We Keep Animals in Zoos? 

Tip: Encourage students to read both the pros and the cons of their favored arguments.

Part B: Writing the petition letter (focus of 1 class period) 

  1. Show students examples of petition letters from other websites, such as these:
  2. Discuss with students which elements they would like to see in their letters, such as arguments supported by facts and evidence. 

Tip: Ask students to write balanced arguments in their petition. For example, “Even though zoos protect animals, they are still better off in the wild”.

  1. Direct students to pick a position/scenario and start writing their petitions individually. Students should use their graphic organizers to support their writing.

Optional closer (10-15 minutes) 

  1. Have students volunteer to read their petitions out loud for the rest of the students.

Related Kialo Discussion

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