Innovation Inspired by Nature: A Biomimicry Challenge

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 13, 2020 - July 24, 20207/13 - 7/24M-F 8:30A-11:20A; Week 1: W&F 12:30-3:05 & Week 2 M&W 12:30-3:05OpenJasmine Smith-Gillen

Course Description

The answers to problems can be found in life all around us! Nature is imaginative, adaptable, and efficient – qualities which inspire today’s engineers and scientists. Biomimicry is the innovation of learning from nature’s sustainable solutions. It is a growing, exciting field of science and engineering that studies nature as a model and then imitates or takes inspiration from these designs and processes to solve human problems. Recognizing that species have specific adaptations and strategies to survive, we are discovering they have already found elegant answers for many human design issues. This program will dive into areas of Biomimicry, ranging from transportation to energy. We will investigate the many environmental issues our societies face, and come up with creative solutions utilizing the design thinking process to innovate from nature. Come discover the amazing field of Biomimicry and get inspired by nature!

The course will explore the design thinking process and how to apply the principles of biomimicry to address important environmental issues. First, the students will learn how to observe nature, the different patterns that appear in nature, and how close observation can support and inform biometric design. Then, they will learn how to identify a problem and formulate a design question. The students will participate in a design challenge by researching an environmental issue and using the design thinking process to develop a solution with nature as their inspiration. They will engage in peer review and use constructive feedback from their peers to continually improve their design, eventually presenting and sharing the results of their projects through visual presentations. Throughout the course, students will be expected to complete relevant readings and research out of class to inform their projects. The course will also include field trips to the Roger Williams Park Zoo, which is a 40-acre living classroom. Visits to the Zoo will serve as inspiration for the design challenge and an opportunity to observe nature and animals first hand.

1. Students will learn how to identify a problem and formulate a clear “design question.”
2. Students will learn how patterns in nature address problems and model solutions.
3. Students will learn how to use biological strategies to inform potential design solutions.
4. Students will learn how to design solutions to environmental problems based on biological patterns and strategies.
5. Students will learn how to construct, test, assess and redesign, to create the most effective solution.

Prerequisites: A year of biology is strongly recommended.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0619
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders

Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2020; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.

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