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Intro to Biomimicry and Science

Innovation and Design, Natural Systems
9, 10, 11, 12

Introduction to Biomimicry
(Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute sessions)
This lesson introduces students to the concept of biomimicry. In the first session, students participate in a presentation that invites them to question where ideas come from and how our built world was imagined and constructed. Students discuss why designers are studying nature’s solutions and identify some of nature’s design achievements (such as energy efficiency, recycling, zero-waste systems, solar energy, etc.). Then they look at several examples of biomimicry and learn how some of nature's strategies have inspired solutions to current challenges. The session concludes with an inspiring and compelling video about Janine Benyus, a biologist and a prominent champion of the biomimicry concept. From this passionate leader, students learn the philosophy and core values of biomimicry. The video also includes several additional striking examples of biomimicry.

In the second session, students go outdoors to a natural space. First, they close their eyes and use their other senses to perceive the natural world around them. In this way, they reawaken their understanding of the natural world in which they live and also reflect on how animals are highly attuned to the environment around them. In the second outdoor exercise, students take turns handling natural objects while blindfolded in order to guess and describe what functions an object (or part of an object) serves in the natural world.

In addition, you can find these additional teacher resources in the Downloadable Resources of the Introduction Lesson:

  • Inspired by Nature Cards—these cards can be used in many ways to help students understand function and strategy in nature and come up with nature-inspired solutions to a variety of problems.
  • Five beautiful and engaging posters—designed to inspire and intrigue students to use biomimicry

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