Biomimicry: learning from nature

This week understand the concept of biomimicry and explore how it has been used to solve problems in the news.

Go to resources

Welcome to the Learning Zone!

This week we learn about biomimicry - when people use ideas from nature to design something new

Watch this video to find out more. When it asks you to pause, scroll down to challenge 1 below.

Challenge 1! Solve the problems

Problem 1: wind turbines are an important source of renewable energy. Scientists want them to be as efficient as possible so that they make as much energy as possible. Unfortunately the blades on early wind turbines were not moving through the wind as smoothly as scientists had hoped. They were also very loud. How do you think biomimicry helped solve this problem? Think about the kingfisher, humpback whale and lotus plant.

Problem 2: the Shinkansen, known as “The bullet train”, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. When it was first designed, it could not cut through the air smoothly enough. This meant it made a loud bang when it travelled through tunnels – which disturbed people and wildlife. Some scientists also wanted it to be faster. How do you think biomimicry helped solve this problem? Think about the kingfisher, humpback whale and lotus plant.

Problem 3: buildings are often painted to make them look nicer. However over time, bacteria, fungi and dirt build up – and people have to do something about it. Some people repaint their buildings. Others clean them. But both of these options might involve chemicals that are bad for the environment. How do you think biomimicry helped solve this problem? Think about the kingfisher, humpback whale and lotus plant.

Keep watching the video to find out the answers!

Challenge 2! Find your own headline

Can you find a problem in the news, like the ones above, that nature could help you to solve?

Think about:

  • What are the details of this problem?
  • For example, what’s gone wrong?

Who is affected?

  • What needs to happen to solve the problem?
  • Which living things can do these things? For example, plants or animals.
  • How could people copy this?

Posts