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Live Like an Animal

prairie dogMiddle school students learn about the engineering design process by building a model of an innovative human shelter inspired and informed by an animal habitat. They then present their work, explaining what attribute of the animal structure influenced their design.

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Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge

biomimicry contestThe Biomimicry Youth Design Challenge is a contest for K-12 students to learn about biomimicry — design inspired by nature — and use it to create something new. Sponsored by the nonprofit Biomimicry Institute, the contest is open to students at three different levels: K-4 (submissions made by the whole class); 5-8; and 9-12. Prizes will be awarded in all three categories.

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Lesson: Design From Nature

sunflowerIn this lesson, students in grades 6-8 discover how engineers can use biomimicry to enhance their designs. They learn how careful observation of nature — in this case, reverse engineering a flower — can lead to new innovations and products.

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Web Resource: Snakes Alive! Biomimicry Videos

corn-frontLearn on the Website of David L. Hu, a professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech University, how the ability of snakes to slide helps explain the movement of wheels, ice skates and cross-country skis.

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Activity: Design Inspired by Nature

In this elementary school activity, students learn about biomimicry and how engineers often imitate nature in the design of innovative new products. They demonstrate their knowledge of biomimicry by practicing brainstorming and designing a new product based on what they know about animals and nature.

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Biomimicry: Natural Designs

Students learn about biomimicry and how engineers imitate nature in the design of innovative new products. They demonstrate their knowledge by practicing brainstorming and designing a new product based on what they know about animals and nature.

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