Project Zoo: Sulphur Rock Magnet Elementary School

Last Updated:5/13/2024

EAST Student Contributor Hayden Taylor profiles a couple of projects from EAST students at Sulphur Rock Magnet Elementary School where they are solving problems for the Little Rock Zoo!

A core part of the EAST experience is community collaboration. A select group of programs from throughout the EASTverse jumped at the opportunity to work with the Little Rock Zoo through the Project Zoo program. Sulphur Rock Elementary EAST students Karis Ford, Sophie Street, Rosalie Horton, Kate McAnally, Carter McKibben, and Wyatt Carter are collaborating on two projects with the Zoo.

These teams used their design skills to help the Zoo enhance the experience for everyone, including the animals. Sulphur Rock Elementary worked with the Zoo on two projects: creating the layout for a cart habitat to place their armadillo in during presentations at the zoo and creating 3D designs of the skeletal systems of snake species to give visitors hands-on interaction. 

Both teams visited with Zoo staff on April 17 to present their progress to enhance what they already had. “It helped me develop time management and learn to work in a team,” said Rosalie Horton, who is working on the armadillo habitat. 

Students also learned soft skills - like public speaking and making presentations - through this process. Kate McAnally said, “I learned how to present for a company.” The business skills students learn within the world of EAST can have a major impact on their future careers. Sophie Street and Karis Ford, two other students on the armadillo habitat project, talked about how they learned “to talk in front of the public.” Their entire team learned how to create a pitch, present it, take constructive criticism, and grow their project to become even more impactful. 

Zoo staff were impressed not only with what these students are doing, but also with the quality of their work and the attention to detail they put into their designs. Carter McKibben, a three-year EAST student, is working on 3D designs of skeletal systems of venomous snakes. He said he has learned that “partnering with more than one person at a time can help you get the project complete.” His project partner, Wyatt Carter, a first-year EAST student, also expressed how he has had to “learn how to 3D print and how to collaborate with community partners.” 

These students left the Zoo eager to grow their projects and put the tips from the Zoo staff to good use while finishing their designs. We can’t wait to see the long-lasting impact these projects will have at the Little Rock Zoo.

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