Biomimicry, being inspired by nature’s design, to solve problems and create new products, is reaching all sectors of society from architecture to medicine. The girls learned about this concept and some of the many examples that exist or are under development. The girls, working in small groups, used Design Thinking to come up with their own prototype – a concept to create a product for something that was a common interest. For example, one group interested in track and field was inspired by the retractable claws of a cat and decided it would be a good idea design track shoes with retractable spikes so that they could walk more easily on pavement. Another group, inspired by the animals that use their whiskers to sense the space of their surroundings, thought it would be useful to develop cars that could move between tight spots without collisions. Their car design would have sensors extending off the side of the car. Another group, wanted to design a bracelet to replace the white stick used by people with vision problems. The bracelet would sense surrounding objects using echolocation and signal its wearer. The inspiration for their design came from the echolocation used by whales. These are but a few of the many exciting ideas the girls designed.
The students were also introduced to robotics using the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robotics system. Using the animal that inspired their biomimicry design, the girls used a behaviour of the animal that could be copied and programmed into their robot. Again, they used Design Thinking as they wrote code and tested their program. The grand finale was to showcase their ideas and progress with their classmates. The photos are just a few of the highlights. Excellent work, girls!
Jr. School Science Specialist