If you could design rules for a sustainable future what would they be? Biomimicry offers a set of principles based on how nature has practiced sustainability for 3.8 billion years.

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BioLearn offers learning resources and support at KS3 and KS4 demonstrating how biomimicry can enrich the curriculum and teaching of sustaiability. They:

  • Deliver STEM projects.
  • Develop working scientifically.
  • Offer a real-world context.
  • Provide practical challenges developing enquiry-based learning skills.
  • Offer lesson plans for teachers.
  • Include training and support for teachers.

If you would like your school to become involved, please get in touch.

 

​“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology.

A new era is beginning.”  Steve Jobs

BioLearn Challenge for Secondary Schools

The BioLearn Challenge is now over for 2021. We hope to bring the Challenge to you again in 2022.

The BioLearn Challenge invited schools to rethink how their school and community can become more sustainable. It used nature as the inspiration to create solutions to human design challenges. For example, buildings need to conserve heat to reduce energy use, yet nature has ways of staying warm without an external energy source; can we mimic nature's solutions?

What is Biomimicry?

BioLearn is based on the principles of biominicry, the science and art of mimicking the best ideas from nature to solve human problems.​

Modules

We are currently piloting our learning materials with schools. They will be published below when ready. The table below provides a flavour of what is to come.

Introduction to Biomimicry

Biomimicry Principles

Age: 11-13 year / Key Stage 2 & 3
Hours: 1½ per lesson
Number of lessons: an introduction lesson, plus one lesson for each principle
Subject: biology.

A seris of modules each exploring one biomimicry principle each. Together they provide a comprehensive introduction to biomimicry.

Biomimicry Principles

Marvellous Models

Age: 11-13 year / Key Stage 3 & 4
Hours: 1 per lesson
Number of lessons: 2
Subject: biology, design & technology

Learning from nature to address a challenge or opportunity starts with asking the question ‘’how does nature manage a similar challenge?” This introductory module focuses on the basic skills that are needed to be able to learn from nature.

Marvellous Models

Introducing Biomimicry

Age: 13-15 / Key Stage 3 & 4
Hours: 1½ - 2
Number of lessons: 2
Subjects: biology, design & technology

This module introduces students to biomimicry through the use of examples, a card sort and an activity where they learn to apply natures principles. This module can sit alone, or in preparation for the ‘Big Biomimicry Challenge’ or any of the other modules.

Introducing Biomimicry

Introducing Biomimicry UK presentation

Card sort activity - print version

 

Going Deeper into Biomimicry

Water Water...reinventing the plastic bottle

Age: 13-15 / Key Stage 4
Hours: 3
Number of lessons: 3
Subjects: biology, chemistry, design & technology

In this module students explore how nature has a range of different abilities we can learn from. Students use the abilities of nature to inspire ways to address the challenge of plastic bottle pollution. By the end of the module, students will have created their own solutions to the challenge of plastic bottle pollution.

Water Water Everywhere

The Natural Economy

Age: 13-15 / Key Stage 4
Hours: 2.5 hours
Number of lessons: 3
Subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, design & technology

In the natural world, all materials are made using resources found locally; organisms do this at room temperature and pressure. Once materials are done with, they biodegrade back to their base elements. Humans do things differently. They dig up minerals, using high temperatures and pressures to turn them into useful materials. These are often thrown away after use and cannot easily be reused. We could say that nature produces materials using a circular economy, whereas humans have a linear economy. This module explores how we can learn from nature to produce the materials we need sustainably.

The Natural Economy

The Natural Economy presentation

Buildings

Age: 13-15 / Key Stage 4
Hours: 3.5
Number of lessons: 4-5
Subjects: physics, design & technology

Shelter, warmth and protection are all functions of buildings. In this module, students search for similar functions in nature and investigate how to use this knowledge to create better and more sustainable buildings.

Buildings

 

STEM Club Challenge

Age: 13-18 / Key Stage 4-5
Hours: 3 plus time for design work
Number of lessons: 3
Subjects: biology, chemistry, physics, design & technology

This module presents a challenge for students to address using biomimicry. An sample challenge is provided about buildings, but teachers and students can choose to focus on any challenge which is of interest for them. This offers them freedom to apply biomimicry design thinking to address a problem which has meaning for them.

STEM Club Challenge

 

 

Big Biomimicry Challenge

Age: 13-15 / Key Stage 4
Hours: 2½ hours
Number of lessons: 2
Subjects: biology, chemistry, design & technology

This module takes students through the process of nature-inspired design, and a structured design task, involving individual and group work. The module is designed to stand alone, or as part of a large scheme of work. While many of the concepts are relevant to Design Technology and Biology, the module will also appeal to teachers looking to develop study skills including team work and presentation competences in students.

Big Biomimicry Challenge

Big Biomimicry Challenge - presentation

 

Packaging

Age: 11-15 / Key Stage 3 & 4
Hours: 1½
Number of lessons: 2
Subjects: biology, design & technology

Like our food and many other products, every organism is packaged. Our skin, the armour of a crab, the peel of a banana, the shell of an oyster, the bark of a coconut, a pineapple (seed pack) and every cell in our body has its own packaging. How can nature’s different ways of packaging help us design solutions to our own packaging challenges?

Packaging

Water Management

Age: 12-16 / Key Stage 3 & 4
Hours: 3+
Number of lessons: 4
Subjects: biology, chemistry, design & technology

Our challenges regarding water management are getting bigger and bigger. There are areas that suffer from extreme drought, while in other places there are floods. Access to clean water is a major challenge for many people. In this module, students will discover these challenges and come up with solutions themselves, based on how nature deals with water management. These challenges all come together in one case study, the design of a city park.

Water Management

Contact

Wild Awake

Email: richard@wild-awake.org

Facebook: Wild Awake

Website: www.wild-awake.org