EAST Students Design Meerkat Exhibit for the Little Rock Zoo

   

EAST Students Design Meerkat Exhibit for the Little Rock Zoo
8/6/2013 3:36:55 PM

Robinson Middle School students used their interests and STEM skills to build a Google SketchUp (3-D) model and a VersaCAD (2-D) model of the exhibit. Plans are in the works for the model to come to life as an actual zoo exhibit.

When Robinson Middle School students Nick Kohler, John Bell, Jake Kohler, Cameron Tyler, Grant Scott, and Andrew DosSantos brainstormed ideas about a project of interest, they never dreamed their idea would turn into a real exhibit at the Little Rock Zoo. The four year project utilized rotating members to allow for a successful outcome as it progressed over time. The students used their interests and STEM skills to build a Google SketchUp (3-D) model of a Meerkat exhibit and a VersaCAD (2-D) model of the exhibit. These models began to come to life when the EAST students collaborated with the Little Rock Zoo in hopes of developing an actual exhibit.

The EAST middle school students shared a Google SketchUp Model, a 3-D creation of what the real exhibit will look like, with zoo staff. The design included an African theme of the exhibit, incorporating a thatched roof keeper house, restroom and straw covered awnings. The glass dome in the center is a viewing area for children who can crawl through tubes to access it. It gives a feel of being right next to a meerkat. There are also glass walls on sides of the exhibit for viewing. A keeper house on the end of the exhibit allows meerkats to enter and be cared for by zoo employees. Overall, it is a re-creation of a meerkat’s natural habitat.

 

Meerkat Exhibit Model created by EAST Middle School Students for the Little Rock Zoo

The Little Rock Zoo was very interested in the exhibit idea, and renderings and cost analysis began. Students created an informational brochure about meerkats and a physical material model of the exhibit to display and share with the zoo and those involved in the planning.

The construction date to begin building the exhibit is not determined, but with the final completion of the project, the EAST students cannot wait to see people enjoy the exhibit and learn more about the meerkat.

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