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Exploring Nature's Solutions

Authored by EcoRise

165 minutes
Three 55-minute sessions plus group work outside of class
Primary subjects: 
Career and Technical Education (CTE): STEM, Environmental Education, Science
Grade: 
9, 10, 11, 12
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This three-part lesson begins with an outdoor experience in which students practice observing nature with a curious mind and begin speculating about the functions behind what they observe. In the second session, students view a presentation that introduces a method for translating design questions into terminology that can be used to search biology for applicable strategies. Then they participate in a game-show-style activity to reinforce their understanding. The session concludes with a homework assignment in which students work in their teams to apply what they have learned to translate their design question from the previous lesson into a “How does nature…” research question. In the third session, students learn about credible sources and methods for finding biological strategy information. Then they work in their teams to develop a research plan to investigate their “How does nature…” questions and begin finding biological models.

Co-authored by the Biomimicry Institute.

Key objectives for students
Explain how looking to nature for ideas is what makes biomimicry unique.
Describe how to translate design problems into biology research questions and why that process is helpful.
Describe how function and strategy link design and biology.
Demonstrate how to identify biologically relevant functions and contexts within a design challege.
Explore several methods for researching biological strategy information.
Identify the function(s) their design needs to perform.
Find relevant biological strategies on AskNature and/or other scientific resources.
Secondary subjects
Art, Biology, Chemistry, Language Arts, Physics, Social Studies
Topics
Biomimicry, Design, sustainability, function, strategy, biological model, characteristic, mechanism, process, taxonomy, design in nature, challenge, project
Skills
Collaboration, Communication skills, Creative problem solving, Critical Thinking, Digital citizenship, Systems thinking
Values
Curiosity, Empathy, Global Leadership, Mindfulness, Optimism, Resilience
Methods
Brain-Based Learning, Design Thinking, Multi-Disciplinary, Multiple Intelligences, Project-Based Learning, Real-World Application, Technology Integration
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