Minnesota students compete in a STEM challenge to redesign tapir exhibit

Here's the latest Tapir Talk!

Elementary, middle, and high school students across Minnesota are competing this week in the Minnesota Zoo's "Zooms STEM Design Challenge," where they are applying STEM skills to solve a real-world problem. This year the task is to design a new exhibit habitat for the endangered Malayan tapir. Derek James at CBS Minnesota explains:

About 120 team projects were selected to move on to this week's exhibition at the zoo.

The teams are using their knowledge of the endangered Malayan tapir to compete in a design challenge that's part Animal Planet and part HGTV.

Their mission: Research and design a new 3D "home away from home" for the tapirs exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo.

Make sure you click through to watch the video, too. The enthusiasm these students have for tapirs is infectious. They describe the features they have built into their designs to keep the tapirs happy—everything from mirrors ("tapirs like looking in mirrors") to textured rocks ("so the tapirs can rub against them to get massages"). Some of these features will likely get incorporated into the actual zoo redesign, which is very cool. Near the end of the video the students declare, "We love tapirs!" I share the sentiment completely!