Biomimicry takes us on a journey to discover the principles which make nature a model for sustainability. It offers an opportunity to explore how these principles can help tackle some of the greatest challenges facing humanity today, such as climate change and increasing levels of waste and pollution. And, it empowers students to apply their new competences to create real solutions that work.
Biomimicry education leverages the wonder of the natural world and all it has to teach us. It is both fascinating and solution-oriented, an extremely potent combination. As Angela Nahikian, Head of Sustainability at Steelcase has put it: ‘Biomimicry offers a fresh lens for all the dreamers and doers remaking the man-made world.’
Three reasons to use biomimicry education:
Biomimicry education does not require new content be added to the curricula.
A wide variety of academic ideas and subjects can be approached through biomimicry.
Academic ideas and subjects are explored in connection with the engaging context of the natural world.
The net result of enriching school subjects using biomimicry educational approaches can be a dramatic increase in students’ appreciation for the world around them, their interest in creating positive change in themselves and society, and in pursuing further education and careers to help them do so.
In the short video below, Sam Stier from the Biomimicry Institute and Center for Learning with Nature explains the unique role biomimicry offers education.
And in this video you can listen to a group of students talk about their own biomimicry design project.
Biomimicry can provide multiple benefits for education. It can serve as a new way for young people to view and value the natural world. Nature is not only something to learn about in biology class, nature is also a source of wisdom we can learn from.
Biomimicry can serve as a compelling way to present STE(A)M subjects to students. Humans have been attempting to use nature’s wisdom for a long time. Today, we continue in this habit and teachers can take advantage of this by engaging their students in biology through active-learning activities. They can also use examples in biomimicry that address science, technology, engineering and mathematics themes all at once.
Furthermore, biomimicry can be used to create an interdisciplinary platform that connects students to one another and the natural world outside of the traditional classroom.
It is important to prepare students to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders of tomorrow, and in order to do this they need (basic) knowledge on all STE(A)M disciplines. The goal of STE(A)M education is to ensure that all students have the possibility to study and be inspired by Science, Technology, Engineering (and Arts) and Mathematics so they will have the possibility to reach their full potential.
Tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges necessitates cross-disciplinary thinking; biomimicry offers this.
This optimism about what’s possible through biomimicry education, and what students aspire to be and do with their lives, is one of the most important benefits. Without hopefulness and ambition, what can humankind really achieve? And yet students too frequently feel disempowered in their education, the very antithesis of why we educate our young in the first place.
The short video below shares the thoughts of teachers and biomimicry practitioners.