Nature Inspired Learning - Home Work to Nature Work

Develop Biomimicry a habit of nature inspired learning towards innovation and design

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy
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Inspiration - Biomimicry - Learning from Nature to Innovate

Biomimicry is defined as the study of natural forms, systems and processes in nature in order to find more effective and sustainable ways to design and engineer products, buildings and service systems*

Biomimicry in Robotics -

Robert Full - Curiosity, discovery and gecko feet

In this compelling Ted Talk Robert talks about the shift from study of science not being a simple recipe in a cook book or Learning being a memorizing facts for tests to how Curiosity can benefit the society for tomorrow. He talks about the 4i's - involvement, imagination, invention, to innovation. He goes on in his talk to how the secret behind the answer to how gecko's feet stick was discovered by a soft-more Tanya just cause she was very curious. Their discovery is now leading its way to a billion dollar industry, with multiple uses.

This was just the beginning. Robert also has another fantastic example of biomimicry where their study of cockroaches is leading to new innovation in robotics.

Robert Full: The secrets of nature's grossest creatures, channeled into robots

This talk goes into how may robots learn to stabilize on rough terrain, walk upside down, do gymnastic maneuvers in air and run into walls without harming themselves? Robert Full takes a look at the incredible body of the cockroach to show what it can teach robotics engineers.

Another interesting use of Biomimicry is in architecture. 

Biomimicry In Architecture - Michael Pawlyn: Using nature's genius in architecture

How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. Architect Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun.

Eg: Eden Project - The forms of the biomes were inspired by soap bubbles and the hexagonal frames by cellular structures. Through the use of inflated ETFE membrane panels, which are 1% of the weight of double glazing, other benefits were seen such s lighter steel frame, letting in more sunlight and adding solar gain. Finally, the air contained in the large tropical biome weighs more that the envelope enclosing it.*

(*Source for Biomimicry Definition and Eden Project by Leonora Oppenheim -

The Idea - Nature Work as a part of Home Work

Man has always found mother nature to be great inspiration for innovation. Yet today's education and curriculum does not foster the habit of looking into nature for inspiration. 

I would suggest that we include once a week studies on Nature's creatures - could be animal, or plant related learning.

How might we inspire Nature based Learning in Schools? 

How might we plant the seeds for boimimicry?

Potential Impact:

- Kids develop curiosity

- Kids learn and develop a liking towards nature and its conservation

- Nature inspires imagination and innovation


Solution - How can we implement this at school?

By having kids go more frequently in to mother nature.

By curriculum being changed to add more deeper study with nature

Deeper than just nature walks.

Some simple ways to foster this -

1. Have Bi-Weekly Biology inspired research work - Let's not call it home work please. 

2. Curiosity inspired questions - Response Starter Cards - See Attached Creature Response Worksheets.

3. Project Based Learning  - I am a big believer in project based learning. So I would suggest projects for the kids.

Here are a few examples.

1. Industrious World of Ants - Part 1(Eat, See, Smell)
- live colony
- How do they eat
- How do they See
- How do they smell

2. Industrious World of Ants - Part2
- Make your own farm
- Obstruction Maze & observe ants do things

3. Worm World
- How worms are helpful
- Make your own worm farm
- composting / manure

4. Similarities b/w plants & Humans - Part 1 (Food, water, grow & movement)
- How plants Grow
- Drink Water
- Make Food
- Movement

5. Similarities b/w plants & Humans - Part 2 (Response, Defense, Multiply, Mutual Dependency)
- Response to stimuli
- Defense
- Multiply
- Mutual Dependency
- Care

All of these need to be supported with skills developed - Attached Excel Worksheet on the same that gives an idea how to go about this.


Join the conversation:

Photo of David Harrington

I have spent months studying various forms of designs that mimic nature. I like where you were going but I would like to see you add more to the solution area. Can you provide more details on how you would implement this study in a k12 situation? Thx so much.

Photo of Niranjan Vasireddy

I have just added to the post some examples on just how might we implement this for K12. Thank you for asking and help make the idea more relevant.