A New Zoo Adventure in Learning

The Zoo is growing – Building new exhibits, bringing in new animals, and making space for all of you to gather, talk and work. We actually can’t quite share all the cool new critters we’ll have on display.  What we can tell you is we are working to integrate the forums and science so that you only have to login once to get to both, and we are working to develop cool new toys for educators (teachers / Scout leaders / camp councilors) to help them use the Zoo to teach.

As we work to expand the Zoo, we want to know what you want to see!  What are your ideas? We are looking specifically for ideas that will help you learn more about the science you’re already doing so well.

If you are using Galaxy Zoo to teach or have ideas on how it can help you learn let us know! What would make classifying easier and what things are you doing on your own to improve your experience that we could build tools to make it easier? And if you are an educator, please tell us how you have already used the Zoo, and what you hope to do in the future. What are your needs?

For example, in the next year we we will be launching a new “Group Login” feature that will allow anyone working with a group of students to automatically create a set of logins for the students that they can later customize with their own usernames and emails. The group leader – the teacher or after school program leader – will have to see the classifications done by all the students and can use these classifications to teach statistics and astronomy.

We will also be pulling into your sidebars and the space beneath the classifications window a glossary of terms, links to more and more detailed background information about the science being studied and data sets being used. We will also be looking for ways to help you share your favorite objects (including eventually sharing them on sites like Facebook!)

These examples are a taste of some of the things we’ve come up with.  We also want to hear about what you’ve come up with. What do you need?  What do you think would be fun? How can we help make the Zoo better for you?

So, whether you’re using the Zoo for yourself or in your classroom, we’re asking everyone to share their ideas with us. Hanny is working to go through the forum to find the things you’ve already mentioned and she is looking for teachers who are already using the Zoo so we can learn about what they are doing and how we can make their lives easier. Pamela is working to collect these ideas, and with the help of the Galaxy Zoo Team, transform them into reality. So every time you think: “wouldn’t it be cool to have.” please contact Hanny via:   arkelhannyvan(at)gmail.com or Pamela at pgay(at)siue.edu and tell us your idea!

We’re both looking forward to working with each other, which is why we wrote this together, and to hearing from all of you!


Pamela L. Gay & Hanny Van Arkel

About The Zooniverse

Online citizen science projects. The Zooniverse is doing real science online,.

15 responses to “A New Zoo Adventure in Learning”

  1. Thomas J says :

    Great stuff, Pamela and Hanny. These are good ideas and I wish you the best of luck. I’ll put the thinking cap on. 🙂

  2. ramzy says :

    hi , sometimes i want to know if my classification right or not . i need a tool to exam it . thank s

  3. Infinity says :

    Yep, looking forward to seeing (and helping with if I can) the developments. 🙂

  4. Alice says :

    Me too. Teachers (GOOD teachers) rock. You are the source of much of civilisation – keep at it! This is very very cool!

  5. Adrianus V says :

    Good idea! That’ll bring the galaxy zoo into the classroom. 🙂

  6. Iain says :


    Would be great to see some web API(REST,SOAP) to enable third party tools to start working on it. Would also be great to see some AJAX type UI, preloading of images to speed up the clasification?

    Just a thought

  7. un nuage d'ecole / A School Cloud says :

    Primary / Elementary school teacher here 🙂 Working on the idea of a 2-3 days marathon with kids aged 5-12. Initially planned for 100 Hours of Astronomy, now a project for someday springtime.

    thinking of translating to French list of criteria at hand for each pupil. If any English list of the king available, would be of great help. Voilà 🙂

  8. un nuage d'ecole / A School Cloud says :

    Brilliant! Glad to see you offering option I was looking for as a teacher. Looking as well for a printable list or table of criteria for classification. A tool I’m thinking of using soon (translated) for a possible a Galaxy zoo launch in here (Paris, France). Voilà 🙂

  9. Arfon says :

    Hi Iain

    There is already a REST API, it’s just not for general use yet 🙂


  10. Hanny says :

    Thanks all, keep those ideas coming. 🙂

  11. GwydionM says :

    I’d like to see a collection of examples of galaxies seen in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey we use here, and then a better view when we have one. This has been done a bit on the threads, but a collection would be useful.

    I know nothing about teaching but I suspect kids would like it as well. And it would teach them something about making guesses from incomplete evidence – things are not always what they seem.

  12. carlo Artemi says :

    Very well . I have an idea about linking Galaxyzoo2 results to searching for dark matter and , perhaps , dark energy . Details will follow in a message in the Forum

  13. zeus2007 says :

    Brilliant! At the momment I have nothing to add, however I’ll keep a couple of extra brain cells working overtime tryting to come up with ideas or suggestions to make a little easier and more fun because some images really do get you stuck. I don’t know, but I guess a zoom in and out tool so we can get details that could be hard to see before any classification is done. Happy classifyin’ everyone.

  14. mahesh says :

    Hey Hanny and Hello Dr Pamela Gay!

    It is just such a lovely pleasant surprise to see you both together accentuating the positives.

    Well, in a way, not a surprise. Your meeting / working together was inevitable. Only a matter of time.

    Best of the wishes for your wonderful endeavours.


  15. Hanny says :

    Saw this a bit late, but thanks Mahesh! (And all others!) 😉

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