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This is my FAVORITE first grade NGSS standard – biomimicry: using nature to inspire design. Nature has perfected so many things- want to walk up a wall? Mimic gecko feet. Swim faster? Mimic shark skin. Assess damage after an earthquake? Send in tiny drones that mimic one of the most efficient flyers – dragonflies! Invention inspired by nature – the possibilities are endless! Use this packet to help your students start to look at nature in a different way – using its perfection in design to solve human problems. That’s what biomimicry is and that’s what NGSS:1-LS1-1 standard is all about. This is a really creative standard and I LOVE encouraging kids to be creative in their scientific thinking. Our nation’s future scientists and engineers are sitting in our classrooms – let’s encourage, challenge, and empower them!!
Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) addressed in this packet:
Grade 1: Structure, Function, and Information Processing
Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs
Start off by introducing your students to the biomimicry concept using the first 8 slides of the packet. I project these onto my whiteboard so we can discuss as a class. Slides show a photo of an invention (ex. Velcro) and then the plant or animal that inspired it.
-Project the next 5 slides showing a problem and a challenge. Example: Problem: Alex wants to ride a bike and needs to protect his head. Challenge: Using a turtle as a model, make something for Alex that will protect his head. There is a worksheet for all 5 slides so students can draw their solution ideas, title page included. Copy the 5 worksheets and title page back to back so students will have a 3 page booklet with 5 drawings of their biomimicry ideas.
-Have students create their own Secret Box using the template provided. Challenge your kids: they must create a secret box- no one is allowed to look inside the box other than the owner of the box! It can contain anything they want to keep secret! Money, notes, candy, etc. Students must protect the box using biomimicry – add something to the box so that no one can open it- cactus spines, shark teeth, etc. – let the children use their imagination! Let them look to nature to try to come up with a design solution to this problem.
Project the 8 slides of animals, plants, and their defenses to help the children come up with some ideas. Students should then actually glue structures onto the box – this can be paper cut as sharp teeth, pipe cleaners cut into cactus spines, use anything you have in your classroom!
The last worksheet is a biomimicry challenge where your students have to come up with a problem, then use an idea from nature to solve it. They can write about their idea on the worksheet and you can ask them to create an actual model of their idea. Have fun!!
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Please note: these units are for the use of one educator.
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Sue from Science for Kids :)