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Program Flyer: Engineering from Animals: The Science of Biomimicry

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Content Provider   Minnesota Zoo  2011-12 Honorable Mention, 2012-13, 2013-14
Contact Information   Galen Sjostrom
13000 Zoo Blvd
Apple Valley, MN  55124
United States
Phone: (952) 431-9522
Program Type   Program Series
This program, as well as "Engineering by Animals: Inventive Nature" and "Engineering for Animals: Exhibit Design & Beyond" make up a three-part series exploring the intersection between engineering and the animal world.

Audiences are free to book these three programs together (buy two, get one free!) or individually.
Program Rating      based on 13 evaluation(s).
Target Audience   Education: Grade(s): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Parent, Adult Learners, Community Groups, Public Library: Library Patrons
Maximum Number of Participants   45
Minimum Number of Participants   5
Primary Disciplines   Problem Solving, Sciences, Standards
Program Description   Biomimicry is the process of using nature in all its forms to inspire new solutions to human challenges. Today more scientists, engineers, and inventors are looking to nature than ever before, and during this program you’ll explore, hands-on, some of the most fascinating ways nature is shaping how humans design, build, and innovate. You’ll test your strength against some spider silk stand-ins; a friendly live arachnid might make an appearance in the studio too!
Program Format   1. The Meaning of Biomimicry
2. Engineers and the Engineering Process
3. Program overview - three varieties of Biomimicry
4. Inspiration from Materials + Web Strength Activity
5. Inspiration from Structures & Movement
6. Inspiration from Behavior & Systems + Choosy Chimps Activity (time dependent)
7. Review & Questions
Objectives   During this program, participants will:
•examine the basic differences between scientific research and engineering.
•examine the concept of biomimicry through exploration of existing design processes and breakthroughs as well as experiencing the process of discovery through hands-on activities.
•Compare the advantages and obstacles of nature-inspired designs with traditional engineering practices.
National/Common Core Standards to which this program aligns   •NS.K-12.1 SCIENCE AS INQUIRY - As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop:
-Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
-Understandings about scientific inquiry

•NS.K-12.3 LIFE SCIENCE - As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should explore:
-Biological evolution
-Interdependence of organisms
-Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
-Behavior of organisms

•NS.K-12.5 SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY - As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop:
-Abilities of technological design
-Understandings about science and technology

-Personal and community health
-Population growth
-Natural resources
-Environmental quality
-Natural and human-induced hazards
-Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

-Science as a human endeavor
-Nature of scientific knowledge

-Students understand the ethical, cultural, and societal issues related to technology.
-Students practice responsible use of technology systems, information, and software.
-Students develop positive attitudes toward technology uses that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.

-Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
-Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.
State/Regional Standards to which this program aligns   • – Identify a need or problem and construct an object that helps solve it.
• – Some materials are better than others for making particular objects; other materials may be better in some ways but worse in others.
• – Many items are engineered to benefit people in their daily lives.
• – Many questions can be answered when scientific knowledge is combined with knowledge from one’s own observations or investigations.
• – When a science investigation is done the way it was done before similar results are expected.
• – Anyone can use evidence to learn about the natural world, identify patterns in nature, and develop tools.
• – The practice of science and/or engineering involves many different kinds of work and engages men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
• – Different structures of plants and animals serve various functions for growth, survival, and reproduction, and can provide different inspirations to engineers.
• – As more and more engineered products and services are created and used, more positive and negative effects the designed world has on the natural world can be observed.
• – Designed solutions can be investigated for how they are used to solve everyday problems.
• – Each potential engineered solution for a problem carries its own possible constraints.
• – Often one invention will lead directly to the development of other inventions.
• – When scientific investigations are replicated they generally produce the same results, and when results differ significantly it is important to investigate what may have caused such differences.
• – Plant and animal structures and their functions provide an advantage in a given natural system, and may provide differing inspirations to scientists and engineers.
• – Humans can have both harmful and beneficial interactions with natural systems.
• – Many common engineered systems have a variety of impacts on the daily life of humans.
• – There are no “perfect” designs: new technologies have consequences that may increase some risks and decrease others.
• – Most manufactured products have a variety of trade-offs in terms of features, performance, durability, and cost.
• – When engineering it is important to use past failures to inform future designs of similar products or systems.
• – When similar investigations produce different result, it can be a challenge to judge whether the differences are significant and if further studies are required.
• – Variation exists in every population and it can help or hinder an organism’s survival.
• – Developing descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models based on evidence can require logical reasoning and imagination.
• – Scientific laws and engineering principles, as well as economic, political, social, and ethical expectations must be taken into account in designing engineering solutions or conducting investigations.
• – Advances in technology can have profound impacts on the way people live, work, and interact.
• – Mineral and fossil fuel resources have formed over millions of years, and they are both finite and non-renewable within human time frames.
•9- – There are many possible motivations behind specific scientific research.
•9- – Changes in scientific knowledge generally occur incrementally.
•9- – Engineering designs and products are often continually checked, critiqued, and refined
•9- – When designing a device or process engineers consider how it will be manufactured,
operated, maintained, replaced, and disposed of.
•9- – Engineering constraints can include time, money, scientific knowledge, and available tech.
•9- – Prototypes help evaluate an engineering concept, but don’t always reach production status.
•9- – Careers in engineering can draw on a wide variety of scientific specialties and education.
•9- – Scientific investigations and engineering processes require multi-disciplinary contributions.
•9- – Technological problems and advances often create demand for new scientific knowledge, improved mathematics, and new technology.
•9- – Changing natural ecosystems through human activity can carry both risks and benefits socially, economically, and ecologically.
Program Length   1 hour for 4th grade and above, 45 minutes for 1st-3rd grades.
By Request   This program is available by request ONLY
Date/Time Notes   This and other Minnesota Zoo Programs can generally be booked by request between 8:30am and 4:00pm (CMT) Monday through Friday. Please feel free to contact our program coordinator directly by phone or email to inquire after specific dates and times.
Program Cost   By Request Cost: $125.00
Program Fee Notes   Thanks to funding by the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment, schools and other audiences within Minnesota can order programs at a discounted price of $85.

Additionally, any audience that books two programs at the same time can book a third for free (buy two get one free).
Cancellation Policy   Audiences that cancel a program with less than 24 hours notice may still be charged full price for the program.

If a program is canceled or interrupted due to unanticipated technical difficulties on either side of the connection, an effort will be made to reschedule at no additional charge.
Is recording allowed?   No
Program Delivery Mode(s)   Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Skype, iChat, FieldTripZoom, Vidyo, Movi/Jabber, Blue Jeans, etc...)
Minimum Technology Specifications for sites connecting to this provider   To participate in our programs audience groups will need either an H.323 video system (Tandberg, Polycom, LifeSize, etc.) OR a compatible web video service (Vidyo, Cisco Jabber, etc.) and a way to bridge that service to connect over IP.

* NEW* If you do not have an H.323 system OR a subscription to a web-based video conferencing service but you have a high definition webcam and standard high-speed internet service, we can provide you with a one-time Cisco Jabber login and password free of charge.
Please note: We do NOT offer programs via Skype at present, but if you are already using Skype for video calls your computer likely already has everything it needs to work with Cisco Jabber too.

Test connections are required no less than four days prior to a scheduled program, and we ask that audiences plan to dial into our IP address.

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It is necessary to have a PIN to request a connection. Find out how to get your free PIN, or Find your PIN.
For additional assistance, phone 866-826-2452.

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