Second level - Suggested Activity

Site: Discovery and Learning
Course: Beyond the Panda
Book: Second level - Suggested Activity
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Monday, 10 August 2020, 4:15 PM


Design and Build an Outdoor Panda Enclosure That Features an Indoor and Outdoor Space

Second Level: Craft and Design Contexts for Developing Technological Skills
During practical activities and design challenges, I can estimate and measure using appropriate instruments and units.
TCH 2-13a
Through discovery and imagination, I can develop and use problem-solving strategies to construct models.
TCH 2-14a
Having evaluated my work, I can adapt and improve, where appropriate, through trial and error or by using feedback. 
TCH 2-14b


  • To design and build an outdoor and indoor giant panda enclosure that has all the features needed to provide a stimulating, yet comfortable environment for pandas in captivity.
  • To use problem solving strategies to design and build various features.
  • To find and use a selection of natural and man-made materials suitable for the design task.
  • To estimate and measure enclosure areas to ensure design elements and features will fit.
  • To adapt and improve designs following verbal or written feedback from teachers and peers.

Suggested Learning Framework

In this lesson, pupils will read Lesson Stimulus - Housing Giant Pandas. They will find out about the giant panda enclosures at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and the features they have that make them suitable environments for giant pandas in captivity. Pupils could also watch the Edinburgh Zoo Panda Cam to see Yang Guang in his enclosure.

Following this, pupils should work in pairs or groups to discuss and record their initial design ideas and think about suitable natural and man-made materials that they could use in their design. They need to think about what size their enclosures will be and ensure that features such as ponds, climbing frames and hammocks will fit.

During the building of the enclosure, pupils should be able to evaluate, adapt and improve their design following verbal and written feedback from teachers and peers.

On completion of the design task, pupils will be able to explain the features they have included in their models and say why these are necessary for a giant panda outdoor enclosure.

Giant Panda Outdoor Enclosure

The panda enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo

1. Stone caves for shelter and privacy.

2. Pond for refreshing dips on hot days.

3. Trees for climbing and exercise.

4. Rocks, grass and woodchip to provide a variety of textures.

5. Low trees and shrubs for shade and cover.

6. Tree house and climbing frame for privacy and exercise.

7. Reclining rocks for relaxation!

Giant Panda Indoor Enclosure

Giant Panda Indoor Enclosure1. Straw filled basket for sleeping, eating and relaxing.

2. Fresh water trough.

3. Raised wooden platform for sleeping and eating.

4. Sturdy hammock for relaxing and playing.

5. Area for fresh bamboo.

6. Easy to clean, waterproof flooring.

7. Wipe clean walls.

Giant Panda Enclosure Architects Drawings

Architects plan for the panda enclosure

Background Notes for Teachers

Giant pandas naturally live in the mountainous areas of central China surrounded by cool, wet, dense bamboo forests. They are solitary creatures and live alone for most of the year, only coming together during breeding season.

Pandas like to spend time in dens and will often give birth to their cubs in a den made from a hollowed out tree, pile of rocks or a cave. Like most bears, pandas love to climb and will be climbing from around 6 months old. They are also great swimmers and love the water. They spend around 16 hours a day feeding, but they do occasionally like to play - when they are not sleeping!

Female pandas ovulate once a year and can conceive for only 2 or 3 days around the time of ovulation. In the wild, female pandas will urinate in streams and rivers to send chemical messages to male pandas to indicate she is ready to conceive.

For pandas in captivity, it is important that they spend their time in an environment that closely mimics that of their natural habitat. At RZSS Edinburgh Zoo the giant panda enclosure has been primarily designed to do just that. Each design feature of the enclosure has a purpose, from giving the pandas shelter from the elements to providing structures for climbing and scratching, everything has been designed and installed for a specific reason.

Use the information on the previous pages to find out more about these features in the indoor and outdoor enclosures. Some or all of them can be used in pupils' designs.

The pandas in their enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo