Biomimicry education is creating the next generation of nature-inspired problem solvers.
We provide educators with the tools, curriculum,
and support they need to empower students
to solve local design challenges.
We Are Helping Educators and Districts
See science as a vehicle for addressing access and equity, building literacy and mathematical skills, and for student sense-making about their place in the world.
Easily bring STEM-based biomimicry lessons into course curriculum through professional learning opportunities and offering interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed content.
Empower a new generation of nature-inspired and nature-connected innovators with those who value environmental education and social-emotional learning.
Professional Learning for Educators
As states across the country adopt new standards that place engineering activities prominently within youth education, we offer educators ways to meet those requirements while keeping students captivated and engaged. Our professional learning programs offer multiple entry points for teachers, districts, and state representatives to integrate biomimicry into student learning. These entry points provide an articulated pathway for students and/or teachers to engage in an activity with the opportunity to deepen their understanding by experiencing other programs.
We’ve also specifically crafted our youth education professional learning offerings to:
- Reach historically underserved students
- Build deeper awareness of Culturally and Linguistically Responsive (CLR) practices
- Address Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) as it relates to academic success
Our goal is to develop a growing network of educators who use biomimicry to engage students in learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to inspire students and teachers alike to learn from, value, and conserve our greatest mentor—nature. We are developing teacher leadership through YDC Mentors, summer camp facilitators, and biomimicry cadre members.
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Youth Design Challenge (Grade 6-12)
The Youth Design Challenge (YDC) is a free, project-based learning experience that asks middle and high school students from around the world to solve the planet’s most pressing problems using strategies inspired by nature. The Challenge serves as a bridge from core concepts to advanced, project-focused STEM learning, providing an engaging framework to introduce nature-inspired design, and an interdisciplinary lens on science, engineering, and environmental literacy.
- Students connect with nature in ways that address social and emotional learning, and prepare them to face challenges with intellect, understanding, and compassion.
- We engage with educators to develop coherent biomimicry curriculum and support the implementation through professional learning, building leadership, and networking.
- By educating and empowering students to learn from nature to solve problems, our programs equip them with a powerful skill set and a transformative relationship with nature.
To design for global warming and increased urban heat, a middle school team out of Honolulu devised the SunTile. Inspired by the hexagonal shape of the honeycomb and grooves on the Saharan Silver Ant, the SunTile aims to both cool homes and protect from erosion. “Knowing that you’ve done or made something that could save or help someone’s day is probably one of the best feelings in the world…”
-Student, SunTile Team, Punahou Middle School, Hawaii
Teaching through the lens of biomimicry offers opportunities to reconnect students with the wonders of our natural world. To encourage those deep connections with nature, we are in the process of developing a comprehensive nature-inspired curriculum for elementary students, in partnership with the Green Schools National Network.
These K-5 lessons uniquely incorporate biomimicry core concepts connected to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), English Language Arts (ELA) standards, and Math standards, along with social and emotional learning core competencies. Integrating them into school systems will result in more innovative classrooms where young people gain an understanding of biomimicry while exploring the natural world. Essentially, they learn how to solve problems as nature does, and gain hope and agency in the process.
The Biomimicry Cadre is a team that develops, presents, and revises an NGSS phenomena/problem-based 3-dimensional learning sequence that prominently showcases biomimicry examples and principles targeted for a specific grade. It serves to support 4th- and 5th-grade teachers in bringing this high-quality learning sequence and professional learning into their curriculum. This work is done in collaboration with K-12 Alliance.
“I’ve become more aware of our environmental challenges, the miracles of evolution and nature, and gained more confidence and focus in my teaching.”
Spotlight on Education
What would our world look like if we had an education system with environmental literacy deeply embedded, and how does biomimicry give youth a means to take control of their own future? In this presentation, a YDC team member speaks about their biomimicry inspiration on-stage at Bioneers.
The Black Carbon Keeper is a design concept to capture black carbon emissions from wood stoves and sequester it through mycelium remediation. Wood burning stoves are a common source of home heating in West Virginia, where this winning Youth Design Challenge team resides, as well as around the world.
Inspired by mint and lotus leaves, this Youth Design Challenge winning team from Vancouver, British Columbia came up with a solution that could prevent drag-inducing frost from building up on wind turbine blades, thereby improving their efficiency and reliability in cold climates, without the use of chemical deicing agents. Frost Safe Wind Turbines is a proposal to retrofit existing turbines by laser-engraving the blades with a pattern that mimics the texture of mint leaves, which resist ice build up.
Learn how to make nature-inspired science education fun and rewarding for K-12 students and where biomimicry education is headed in the future.
The BioBRICKery team from Belmont, California sought to address climate-related housing displacement while also addressing carbon dioxide emissions from the building industry as a root cause of the issue. They created and tested a prototype for a carbon-sequestering mud brick that is inspired by calcium carbonate-producing marine organisms, the use of hexagons for strength found in multiple organisms, and a freeze-resistant arctic fish.
This Youth Design Challenge winning team from Palo Alto, California was motivated to protect people living in flood prone areas, such as the island of Taiwan, which will be increasingly impacted by climate change. The Teardrop Residence is an amphibious shelter that rests on the ground under normal conditions but can float whenever a flood occurs.
Support the Next Generation
of Nature-Inspired Innovators
By donating to the Biomimicry Institute, you help us empower more nature-inspired innovators. Together, we will build a strong and sustainable global community dedicated to eliminating the need for extractive industries and revitalizing degraded ecosystems.