Taylor, A.R., Jones, M.G. There are two categories: a student-only category (high school and university) and an open category, which any team can enter (including students). What is Biomimicry? The American Biology Teacher 1 March 2012; 74 (3): 182–184. Here, I define biomimicry broadly, following Meuller (2008), to include the applications of natural phenomena to solve a social or technological problem. Nature has come up wih some pretty amazing designs. It is not my intent to rehash the thorough content coverage of Flannery (2010) that can be accessed by other American Biology Teacher readers. They should not feel pressure to come up with a solution immediately, but be allowed to negotiate the uncertainty and ambiguity involved in finding creative solutions. Both the examples and the descriptors can be modified according to the developmental level of the students. (2008). Students can use the associated activities to see how engineers gain inspiration from studying nature and its unique properties. This approach to human innovation, via emulating nature, is called biomimetic design and has inspired many of our greatest creations – from buildings to bionic cars, here are some of the favourite examples. Explain to the students that the group diversity will promote creativity when deciding on design projects with each student bringing a unique perspective to the table. Give two examples. Depending on their circumstances, these may be concerns of students in their personal lives. The innovative building is quoted to consume 10 per cent less energy than same-sized conventional buildings! Inspired by this, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) replicated this structure with glass and plastic. Biomimicry is the technological application of designs already used in nature to solve problems in engineering, material science, medicine, and other fields (Mueller, 2008). Flannery, M.C. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press’s Rights and Permissions Web site at, This site uses cookies. Biomimicry in medicine also extends to aspects like the treatment principle, production of drugs and also for effective delivery of drugs. I describe a design-based learning activity that utilizes the interdisciplinary content domain of biomimicry. (2004). Students are introduced to the concepts of biomimicry and sustainable design. This led to the formation of WhalePower tubercle technology, a company developing a range of tubercle technology products, with a range of blade applications, including wind turbines, hydroelectric turbines, irrigation pumps, ventilation pumps. The following is a description of an extended DBL experience that will provide a long-term project for students. You might have noticed the distinct lack of Bionic Car-shaped vehicles on the road, which is probably because a 2015 study found that the shape of the boxfish didn’t reduce drag at all and actually made it more unstable – great for a box fish with 50 million years of evolution to perfect the art of being a boxfish, less good for a people carrier. For example, returning to the issue of global water shortages: is the problem that water is not being transported to the people that need it, or is the problem water sanitation? Teacher focus groups that have piloted this activity suggest having students make sure they identify exactly what they are trying to solve. The article goes on to examine the transition of much of the science of biomimicry into the microscopic world, for example, where researchers have begun to attempt to actively recreate the actions of enzymes. Once students have a large list of issues, they should prioritize them within the group and submit them to the instructor for approval and feasibility. Several designers and engineers worked on this bird-inspired concept in the following years, for instance Otto Lilienthal completed more than 2,500 flights in a glider, but it was not until 1903 that the Wright brothers flew the first powered, heavier-than-air machine in a controlled and sustainable flight. Check out these 9 cool examples of biomimicry in design and technology as well as our previous series: designs inspired by the sea, plants and insects. Benyus, J.M. Too much tilt though, and the opposite will occur and they’ll stall – a loss of lift due to current turbulence and the formation of eddies in the water. His original design, called the Ornithopter, was never created, but was a principal in showing how man could potentially fly. Once students have attempted to match all their card pairs, I review the matches with the whole group to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Alignment with national standards documents, protocols, and assessment recommendations are provided. Grant E. Gardner; Using Biomimicry to Engage Students in a Design-Based Learning Activity. & Post, B.K. Education is the root of change and at the heart of everything we do. Once students have come to a conclusion about the most relevant solution, I recommend that they prepare an informal presentation of this solution to the extended classroom. This significantly reduces the amount of noise the train makes, but also uses 15 per cent less electricity, and travels 10 per cent faster than before. Mueller, T. (2008). Achieving standards in urban systematic reform: an example of a sixth grade project-based science curriculum. You might also have students reflect on this question in their science journals. They can do this by brainstorming potential problems in their group and listing these problems. They could be “working” prototypes or those constructed of nonmoving parts. *See other products for the full lesson plan. Inspired by nature. The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, exemplifies biomimicry at an incredible scale. Biomimetic design: 10 examples of nature inspiring technology, Future technology: 22 ideas about to change our world, Dude, where’s my flying car? Biomimetics: design by nature. They deduced this higher angle proficiency was beneficial for the whale in allowing it to manoeuvre in tight circles, hence how they circle and entrap their prey in a ‘net’ of bubbles. This can include solutions at the macroscale, such as the Velcro example provided above, or at the microscale, such as those currently pursued by synthetic biologists and biomaterials engineers. This is dependent on which medium is hotter – the building or the air. This beautiful poster sets stunning natural images alongside products to help students make the connection with nature in their own and others' work. The modern agricultural practices of humankind are also enormously productive, but only in the short term: the irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticide inputs upon which modern food crops depend both deplete and pollute increasingly rare water and soil resources. Probably one of our favourite creatures from David Attenborough’s epic new series Planet Earth II, the African Namib Desert Beetle collects water by condensing fog into water droplets in the bumps on its shell. http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/, Biomimicry for Education. Biomimicry is an innovation practice that seeks design solutions by looking to examples in the natural world. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of biomimicry is evident in the history of human flight. Discover our latest special editions covering a range of fascinating topics from the latest scientific discoveries to the big ideas explained. Biomimicry examples like these bring science and engineering to life in ways that offer an engaging and empowering framework for purposeful GreenSTEM learning experiences. (2010). The lotus effect, otherwise known as superhydrophobicity, is the effect seen on the leaves of the Lotus flower, where water is not able to wet the surface and simply rolls off. In this lesson on biomimicry and habitation design, students will use classroom and field examples to examine animal habitats. The humpback whale weighs an astonishing 36 tonnes, yet it is one of the most elegant swimmers, divers and jumpers in the sea. Allow your students to research their chosen biomimicry topics. This activity also highlights some of the less-accentuated aspects of the Nature of Science (NOS) and Nature of Technology (NOT), such as the role of creativity in scientific discovery, problem solving, technological design, and science as a social practice. Students should have a concrete idea of what technology has been (or is currently being) utilized in order to solve their identified problem. At this workshop, you will be amazed to learn how scientists, designers, architects, and many others are inspired by nature to solve human problems. Janine Benyus is a life sciences writer and author of six books, including her latest -- Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Biomimicry in Youth Education: A Resource Toolkit for K-12 Educators is a digital flipbook indexing over 80 biomimicry education resources, selected to assist teachers working with students from kindergarten through high school. Only recently have biology practitioners actively attempted to utilize biomimicry as a biology content focus (Reed, 2003; Riechert & Post, 2010; Weissburg et al., 2010). Learn what biomimicry is with examples from a sugar glider, armadillo and gecko. In 2005, inspired by the great structural strength and low mass of the boxfish, Mercedes Benz developed the Bionic Car, which reported to reduce drag, have great rigidity, low weight and a significantly lower fuel consumption than traditional cars. For the sake of clarity, each organism and technology has a corresponding number in Table 1 (these numbers would not be included on cards for student use). Engagement and achievements: a case study of design-based learning in a science context. Designed for students enrolled in a class approved for future certification possibilities, this resource pack contains materials and resources to support your learning. 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