2nd Grade: Biomimicry

The second graders were introduced to a new term two weeks ago, Biomimicry.  We looked carefully at the word and the kids noticed that the word mimic was in the Biomimicry.  We discussed that bios means life and the 2nd graders made some predictions as to what the term biomimicry stood for; “the study and imitation of nature’s remarkably efficient designs [encouraging] scientists, engineers, architects and innovators of all ages who can use those models to create sustainable technologies.”  So essentially, looking to nature to find ways to invent, solve problems, and create.  We watched a video clip that showed some examples of Biomimicry in action.  One that really got my attention was fabric designed based on a leaf that repels liquids and stays dry.  With 3 kids and 2 dogs I would appreciate all of my fabric being treated in this manner.

Last week the kids read an article about how the bur, the shark, and the gecko inspired innovation.  The bur is what led us to Velcro.  Who knew that such a nasty seed to lead us to such a useful invention.  I love to tell of all the diapers I wasted in my babysitting years because they didn’t have Velcro tabs. The shark led Speedo to improve its design of the swimsuit for Olympians.  Every millisecond counts! The small hairs on the bottom of a geckos feet, called setae, led to the creation of some very strong glue.

This week we continued our study of biomimicry by looking closely at the adaptations of a giraffe.  We found that a giraffe has a heart that is 2.5 times bigger than you would expect, which allows a giraffe to stand without fainting.  The skin around the legs and the neck of a giraffe is extremely tight, much like a G-Suit, to allow the blood to move around the body more efficiently.  This research led into a discussion of some possible inventions based on the giraffe’s adaptations.

Next week the second graders will choose an animal to research and the students will brainstorm inventions based on what they learned about their animal.  You might start talking about a plant or animal, their adaptations, and how this can lead to a new invention or fix to a current problem.

TESSELLATIONS: Many weeks ago, after studying polygons in nature the 2nd graders learned what it means to tessellate and had a chance to create their own tessellations.  Here are a few of the finished pieces.

Photo Feb 14, 3 06 17 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 06 45 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 10 52 PM Photo Feb 14, 3 12 16 PM

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