How to foster students’ love of learning, creative thinking and desires to improve the world

Bring nature and curiosity into your classroom!

Learning is more fun and memorable when you are encouraged to ask questions and solve engaging problems. By inspiring your students to explore biomimicry you provide them with an opportunity to be amazed by the natural world. Biomimicry offers an opportunity to explore strategies and look for patterns in nature, and to mimic them to design your own solutions to a problem.

Students learn by asking questions, and biomimicry can be used to explore imaginative, innovative, and even serious questions. The projects are intended to inspire a playful and creative approach towards problem-solving.

Step out of the classroom or watch some nature videos

Viable solutions to issues can be found by applying nature’s strategies. Bio means life, and mimicry means to mimic life and nature.

Biomimicry is an exciting way to be creative, curious and to observe the world. It offers a fantastic opportunity to use magnifiers, binoculars and discover how fantastic the natural world really is. Search for local heroes in the schoolyard. By studying the collective intelligence of ants working together in the schoolyard ideas about how to work together in the classroom to accomplish more can be explored.

What if you were a caterpillar? You may hear students talk about how caterpillars can squeeze through tiny crack and how they can climb upside-down under a leaf. Then they use this observation to invent something. The focus shift from observing to being inspired by the observation to solve problems or to invent things. The impact of the observation is mind-blowing.

There are amazing videos that can be used in the classroom to study how an echidna finds its way in the dark water despite its habit of folding up his eyes, ears, and nostrils within his skin when he dives. Or you can study how a ladybird unfolds its wings in slow motion.

Passion for questions

Biomimicry is not aimed at learning the names of animals or plants. It is about observing behaviours and functions, and using these as a stepping-stone for ideas. There are no right or wrong answers or solutions.

So what purpose do these biomimicry projects serve?

Question asking is an undervalued part of education, and when using biomimicry with students is also great to allow children to ask deeper questions about nature. Questions of a more philosophical nature that will help them to develop a mindset that understands nature.

It might be difficult to understand why biomimicry is important and what children can learn from this approach to look at nature to find inspiration for new ideas. Most schools teach children about how animals and plants grow, where they can be found, and taxonomy but nature can be used as an inspiration to solve some of the most urgent sustainability challenges. So, maybe biomimicry or biometrics should be part of every curriculum.

What impact should you see?

Biomimicry creates a positive learning atmosphere, builds confidence and gives a nature a value. Students will be filled with awe for nature while they explore curious questions, and use their observations to create, draw and build models of their ideas.

Teaching students to use creative techniques and tools is vital if they are going to help solve problems that they will face in the future. To value animals and plants is necessary to develop a desire to save and care for them.

Biomimicry is great brain workout since it challenges children to be creative and to use their observations to solve problems and design things. Building model and making sketches is part of biomimicry – tinkering with a purpose.

Below it an example from a freebie about Giraffes. You can start by exploring how biomimicry has been used by car manufacturers to design a car using the boxfish as inspiration. The shape of the boxfish was believed to improve aerodynamics as well as stability.

Randomness is at the heart of creative thinking and here it is used to spark ideas. The suggestions are not random, rather there are suggestions that can be used to invent something based upon observations of giraffes, see the poster. A way of scaffolding the students to be creative. There is also an option where the students can explore their own ideas.

The observations in the poster explore functions that can be used to explore ideas, innovate and solve problems.

Note, this blog post has been published at The Wheel, where you also find the Freebie and other of my resources. The Wheel is based in Australia and it gives me great pleasure to find my resources there. I have left my heart in many places and Australia is one.

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