Imitating Life Designing with biomimicry

Lesson 2

Today we're going to assemble a collage of biomimicry inventions and their natural inspirations. But first, we're going to look at analogical thinking

Analogical thinking in biomimicry is about being able to take specific features in nature and apply them in a human context. It is NOT about simply copying nature. This video explains it well (although it doesn't use the term analogical thinking).

(SciToons, 2017)

Now we're going to make a 'before-after' collage of nature-inspired inventions and the natural thing that inspired them using Canva Collage Maker.

Pick a template that lets you fit lots of images onto the page, but don't spend too long choosing. Using the videos that we've seen already as well as watching at least one of the following about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, assemble a page of at least five ideas (10 images). 

Annotate each pair (that is, add text), outlining the particular analogy transfer - that is, what in particular has been borrowed from nature to use in the new invention. 

When you have finished, add your name to the collage, save it as a JPEG and then upload it to this GOOGLE FOLDER.

Now take some time to have a look at other students' collages and the examples they have chosen.

Now we're going to have a look at the biomimicry design spiral. The biomimicry design spiral outlines a process using biomimicry to get from the very early stages of design to a finished product (and beyond). This sort of process will be familiar to you, having looked at the design thinking process (remember Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test).

We will come back to it every lesson from now on, but for now, have a look at the first two terms

Biomimicry Design Spiral. DEFINE - function and context. BIOLOGIZE - the challenge. DISCOVER - biological models. ABSTRACT - strategies. EMULATE - strategies. EVALUATE - fitness.

You will probably be familiar with the term 'DEFINE'. In this context, it means come up with a problem that you want to find a biomimicry solution to. 

How about the term 'BIOLOGIZE'? Think-pair-share with the person next to you and see if you can come up with a definition (hint: BIOLOGIZE might have something to do with biology).

Finally, you're going to form groups of three or four and brainstorm ideas for your own group projects. By the end of this unit your groups will have decided on their own biomimicry invention and built a prototype. 

To start this process, go to Mind Meister, open a free account, link to your team members and begin to brainstorm ideas for a nature-inspired invention. Try to look out for common points/goals and look for patterns that might help you choose one idea to run with. This is the DEFINE stage of the biomimicry design spiral.