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Lions, Tigers, and Bears Project

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  • Use mathematical problem-solving strategies to complete an assigned task

Are you ready to join a team of animal experts? As part of your application to be the zoo’s new coordinator, you must complete several challenging tasks. You’ll make decisions about what animals to purchase for the zoo based on financial information provided to you. You’ll gather specific data about the animals you choose, including their weight and expected lifespan. Finally, you’ll present your findings to the hiring committee. So pack up your gear and don’t forget your algebra tool kit. This adventure is going to be wild!

The Task
As you begin to go through the hiring process, we have briefly described each challenge that lies before you. The Process section has a detailed description of each challenge. The Guidance section has some helpful hints. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Zoo Challenge 1:
First, read a letter from the zoo Animals Inc. The letter is found in the Process section. Then, create a spreadsheet according to the request of the zoo.

Zoo Challenge 2:
Next, research the average weight, lifespan, and gestation, and/or incubation period of each animal in your newly created zoo.

Zoo Challenge 3:
Last, create a presentation that explains why you chose each particular animal for the new zoo. You will give this presentation to your classmates, the board members of Animals Inc.

The Process
Below is a detailed description of each challenge.

Zoo Challenge 1:
For your first challenge, Animals Inc. wants you to choose the animals you think should be in their zoo. First, you need to read the letter Animals Inc. sent to you. Within this letter, you will find all of the information you will need to construct your zoo.

Dear Applicant,

Hello. First, we would like to thank you for applying for the Zoo Coordinator position at Animals Inc. As part of your application process, we have created a challenge that we want you to tackle. Below is a description of the task.

Animals Inc. has $1,000,000 to purchase animals for their new zoo. The animals you are allowed to purchase and their prices are listed below. You must be within $1,000 of the $1,000,000, and you must purchase at least 10 different animals (this means that you have between $999,000 and $1,001,000 to spend on 10 animals). When purchasing an animal keep in mind the following:

  • the gender of the animal (do you want all males, all females, or an even balance?);
  • the number of each type of animal you would like to purchase; and
  • your reasoning for purchasing that animal.









Bearded Dragon




Boa Constrictor










Panda Bear




Polar Bear




















Sea Lion




Snapping Turtle


Grizzly Bear
















Once you have chosen your animals, create a spreadsheet of your purchases.

Next, write an expression for each type of animal purchased that represents the total amount of dollars spent purchasing that animal.

Good luck, be creative, but most of all, have fun!

With Sincere Gratitude,
Animals Inc. Hiring Staff

Zoo Challenge 2:
Once you have chosen the animals you want to purchase for your zoo, you will need to:

a. Use the Internet to research the average weight, the average lifespan, and the average gestation and/or incubation period for each chosen animal.

b. Create one chart that displays all of your collected data. Your chart should include the following:

→the name of each animal;

→the average weight of each animal;

→the average lifespan of each animal; and

→the average gestation and/or incubation period of each animal.

c. Create a graph for the average weight, the average life span, and the average gestation and/or incubation period. You will have a total of 3 graphs. You must have a box-and-whisker plot and a bar graph. Choose a different graph for the remaining set of data.

Upon completing your research, answer the following questions:

a. What is the mean, median, and mode of the amount spent to purchase each animal?

b. What is the mean, median, and mode for the average weight of the animals purchased?

c. What is the mean, median, and mode for the average lifespan of the animals purchased?

d. What is the mean, median, and mode for the average gestation period?

Zoo Challenge 3:
Now it is time to put all of your information together and create a presentation. Your presentation should include:

  • A listing of the animals you chose and an explanation of why you chose them;
  • A picture of each animal you chose in your presentation; and
  • Your spreadsheet, calculations, and graphs.

In addition, you should make use of the following vocabulary words in your presentation: mean, median, and mode.

Keep in mind that you will be reporting your results to the Animals Inc. board (your peers and teacher), so be organized and creative!

If you are having difficulties with a particular challenge, you have come to the right place! Below are some helpful hints for each challenge from the staff at Animals Inc.

Zoo Challenge 1:
Your spreadsheet should include the following:

  • Each type of animal purchased;
  • The total amount spent on each category of purchased animals; and
  • The total amount spent.

Remember, when writing expressions, you need a defined variable, numbers, and at least one operation. For example, an expression for the total amount spent on zebras might be $15,000z, where z = the total number of zebras purchased.

Zoo Challenge 2:

  • An animal’s gestation period is the amount of time the animal carries the infant in the womb. If an animal hatches from an egg, the animal’s incubation period is the amount of time the animal spends in the egg before hatching.
  • The mean is the arithmetic average of a set of data.
  • The median is the middle number in a set of data when the data is in numerical order.
  • The mode is the number(s) that appears most often.

Zoo Challenge 3:

Some of the presentations that you could create are:

  • a PowerPoint or slide presentation,
  • a poster,
  • a newspaper/magazine article, or
  • a professional portfolio.


Congratulations! After looking through each applicant’s presentation, we are delighted to say that we want you to be one of our new Zoo Coordinators. Without a doubt, your ability to graph data, find the mean, median, and mode of data, and solve real-life problems is outstanding, and we are excited to see what other mathematical talents you have buried within you! We hope you have enjoyed this experience, and we are excited to have you on the new Animals Inc. team!