Day at the Zoo

story by Helen Vivienne Fletcher , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Learning intention

I am learning to investigate viewpoints that are similar and different to my own so that I can collaboratively create a map of a Zoo that is inclusive for everybody.

Success criteria

  • I can collaboratively create a map showing key locations within the text.
  • I can work collaboratively, listening and sharing ideas
  • I can include essential information like a Map title, Key, Direction showing North, East, South and West and clearly label important locations on my map.
  • I can present the map as a group to the class, sharing roles equally.


A Day at the Zoo

Read this excerpt of the text to the class and discuss the concept of accessibility.


Hayden was in a wheelchair and since they lived on one of the steepest streets in the city,

Joel couldn’t manage pushing Hayden up or down it.

Joel and Hayden both loved the zoo. The paths were pretty steep, but they always used the Zoo Cruiser, a little truck that could fit their whole family.

‘I’m really sorry,’ he said. ‘The Zoo Cruiser’s stopped running. We won’t be able to take you around today.’

‘Oh no!’ said Joel. ‘When will it be working again?’

The zookeeper shook his head. ‘I’m afraid it won’t be. It’s broken down for good.’

Joel looked at Hayden. If he couldn’t push him up the street at home, there was no way he’d manage the hills at the zoo.

‘Here we are,’ he said. ‘George isn’t so busy today, so he’d be more than happy to take you on a personal tour.’

George took them around to see the monkeys, the zebras and the llamas. Joel had a great time pulling faces at the monkeys. He wasn’t so keen on the llamas. One of them spat at him, and they smelt horrible. Hayden wanted to go and see the sun bears but George stopped at the top of a hill.

Hayden leant forward to take the bottle. His chair started to roll.

‘The brakes!’ yelled Joel.


Ask the students to turn to the person next to them and explain what they think is going to happen next!

Explain to the class that disability discrimination occurs when a person is not given the same opportunities as others in a similar setting. The Zoo, in this text wasn’t able to provide a service for Hayden on this day due to a mechanical fault. The Australian Human Rights Commission provides a guide for businesses to assist them in being able to support all of the community in accessing facilities.

Students will design a map of the Zoo featured in the text with accessibility modifications to allow access and enjoyment for everybody.

Engaging personally, students identify ways in which their own experiences, perspectives and contexts influence their discussion and considerations in creating an accessible Zoo.

Ask students to think about their family and friends in the community, have they needed any adaptation or adjustment to allow them to access all facilities in their local area?

  • For instance, someone in a wheelchair may need a flat ramp or elevator to access upper levels.
  • Members of the community with low vision may need braille signage or sounds at road or path crossings. For example, the City of Sydney has braille signage and street signs.
  • NSW National Parks have access-friendly options within all their areas, using ramps and wide paths.
  • Sydney Zoo is advertised as access friendly, have a look at their site to see their adaptations to increase accessibility.
  • Seaworld Theme Park and Wet’N’Wild all have accessibility codes that you may view to see how they support accessibility.
  • View the equipment and modifications that make Endeavour Park, Sydney, one of the best accessible parks in Australia.
  • The highlight of Hayden’s day at the Zoo was an extreme ending. Have a look at Wheelchair WMX to generate ideas for a sensational end for the group Zoo map. To cater for every customer type students may need to create optional endings for their Zoo tour.

Hand out a large piece of A3 or A4 paper to the students. As a class read through the text and have students take notes with either a mock map sketch or a sequenced itinerary on a blank A4 paper.

Form groups of four in the class and students share their ideas for the collaborative map with features they thought were important for Joel and his brother Hayden’s visit.

As a group, students will construct a map of the Zoo.

Key factors include:

  • Create a key to indicate sites on the map
  • Have compass bearings on the map
  • Follow the sequence from the text and include additional animals that Hayden and Joel wanted to view
  • Include short annotations or clear labels for an understanding of features on the map
  • Design the layout for accessibility with wide paths and solutions for pushing a wheelchair through hilly terrain.

Collaborative maps can be shared with the class including features explained and solutions discussed.