Psychology classes to attend zoo field trip


The ring-tailed lemurs live in the primate exhibit and are suggested for students to visit and observe.

The psychology students are preparing to visit the National Zoo to observe the  the behavioral habits of animals. This field trip will help students expand their understanding of the course’s overarching biology and behavior themes.

“It’s an opportunity for the students to do some field research, where they’re going to observe people as well [as animals],” psychology teacher Whitney Hardy said.

The trip, scheduled for April 12, has become largely anticipated after its initial success two years ago.

“I really, really want to go [to the zoo]. I want to see all the animals,” senior psychology student Ahmed Mohammed said.

“[The trip is] a chance to use the skill set [we] learned in class,” junior Gabi Montes de Oca said.

The zoo is an ideal field trip location because it gives students the chance to create connections between their classroom studies and real people.

“It’s an opportunity for the students to do some field research where they’re going to observe people as well,” psychology teacher Meghan Saladino said.

Students will be assigned an assignment to complete while at the zoo. They will then bring their observations back to class and analyze them. Points of emphasis will be the differences in age groups and how long each age group spends looking at an animal.

“Psychology is the study of human behavior, but there are so many parallels between human and animal behavior.  In addition, … the zoo provides students with a great opportunity to analyze human behavior,” Hardy said.

Psychology students also have the opportunity to go to the Think Tank to observe chimpanzees and their use of tools, as well as to learn “about different animal’s brains and their level of cognitive ability,” Hardy said.

Psychology teachers are hoping that students will be able to make connections from the classroom to the real world and to practice what they’ve learned in class in a different and exciting way.

“Mrs. Saladino and I hope that students start to become more aware of the human behavior around them and start to apply the things we have taught in psych this year to their observations.  We also hope that the different experience of an “outside” classroom will be engaging and fun,” Hardy said.

The psychology department and classes are looking forward to another successful field trip to the National Zoo. While the focus of the field trip is to make observations that can be later analyzed is class, everyone is anticipating a fun, as well as educational, field trip.

“That’s my number one hope, actually, is that they have a good time,” Saladino said.