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Zoo Design (Investigation)


Congratulations you've just been given the job of designing a new zoo! Your zoo is large enough to house 4 types of animals. In this investigation you will decide how to set up each of their habitats using the help of percents!


  • To use reasoning to determine how to build an animal’s habitat.
  • To use percents to estimate the amount of each natural object needed in the habitat.
  • To practice with visualizing percents.
  • To understand visually what happens with percent change.


  • Internet
  • A sheet of printer paper
  • Pencil

Pre-Investigation Questions:

1) What 4 animals do you want to have in your zoo? Make a list of them.

2) Make a list of things you may need to know about an animal to build it a place to live. For each of the animals you chose, research this information.


1) Fold your piece of printer paper into 4 equal boxes. Each box will represent the space given to each animal.

2) Label each box with the animal you want to live there.

3) Based on the research you did estimate what percentage of grass, rocks, ice, water, etc. that the animal may need in its habitat to survive. According to this percentage mark the amount of space each piece will take up in the animal's habitat.

Example Zoo Outline

Discussion Questions:

  1. Think about how your zoo would change if you were to increase the size of the box for your biggest animal by\frac{1}{4} . What do you notice happens to the size of the other habitats? Why do you think this happens?
    Helpful Hint!

    First convert the fraction to a percent. 

  2. What if you were to increase the size of the same box by \frac{3}{4} instead ? Do you still have room for the other animals to live in your zoo too? Why or why not?
  3. Compare with a friend! Did someone else use the same animal as you? If so, how did you decide to design the habitat differently than your friend? Are they the same in any way?


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